(New througout, details on growth in February)
LIMA, April 15 (Reuters) - Peru’s economic growth picked up in February, rising 5.72 percent from the same month a year earlier on robust mining and manufacturing activity and beating forecasts, government data showed on Tuesday.
The economy grew at a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.7 percent in February from the previous month, the government statistics agency Inei said.
In the 12 months through February, the economy grew 5.56 percent from the same 12-month period a year prior.
The median estimate of a Reuters poll forecast a 4.9 percent expansion in February on a year-over-year basis. Early this month, the central bank predicted growth at around 5.2 percent.
February’s rate also surpassed the 4.21 percent year-over-year expansion posted in the same month of last year.
In the first two months of the year, Peru recorded economic expansion of 4.97 percent from the same period a year ago, Inei said.
In January, Peru grew at a weaker-than-expected 4.23 percent.
Peru started using a new baseline for economic growth this year that gives more weight to the Andean country’s key mining sector.
Under the new method, which was used to calculate expansions in January and February, gross domestic product rose 5.6 percent last year instead of 5 percent as initially reported.
Peru’s economy has slowed in recent years from China-paced expansions posted in the past decade as mineral exports have tumbled on softer global demand and weaker prices.
In February, the mining and energy activities rose 7.92 percent year-on-year; manufacturing, 5.96 percent; construction, 9.78 percent; sales, 5.26 percent; fishing, 18.16 percent and financing, 13.95 percent.
Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla said earlier this month that he expects the economy to grow by more than 6 percent in March and between 5 percent and 5.5 percent in all of the first quarter.
The government and central bank expect the economy to grow up to 6 percent this year.
Unemployment in metropolitan Lima in the first quarter of this year increased to 6.9 percent, compared with the 6.4 percent rate registered in the same period last year. (Reporting by Patricia Velez; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by James Dalgleish and Jan Paschal)