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UPDATE 1-Peru central bank slashes 2014 GDP growth view to 5.5 pct

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LIMA, April 22 (Reuters) - Peru's central bank slashed its forecast for this year's economic expansion to 5.5 percent from 6 percent on dimmer expectations for the country's crucial mining sector, the bank's president said.

The new growth forecast, scheduled to be published in a quarterly report on Friday, points to a less dramatic economic rebound in 2014 after last year's slowdown than the central bank and government had previously estimated.

The central bank and finance ministry said late last year that the economy would likely grow around 6 percent in 2014.

Central Bank President Julio Velarde said mining activity will pick up this year but will not likely be as robust as previously thought.

"We expect growth of 5.5 percent, with mining growing less than expected," Central Bank President Julio Velarde said during a presentation at a university event late on Tuesday.

Velarde said the bank trimmed its forecast in part because of weaker production from "an important copper mining company."

He did not specify the company's name.

Velarde also said the monetary authority revised its view of the fiscal surplus in 2014 upward to 0.4 percent of gross domestic product from its 0.1 percent estimate given in December.

Peru is the world's third biggest copper and silver exporter, and sixth largest gold exporter. Its mineral shipments make up around 60 percent of its export earnings.

Peru clocked a disappointing 5 percent growth rate in 2013 and posted its first trade deficit in years as mining exports tumbled on weaker prices and softer demand.

That pace, one of the region's fastest, was the Andean country's weakest expansion in a decade except for in 2009 when it was hit by the global financial crisis.

Under a new method now used to calculate economic growth, gross domestic product would have risen 5.6 percent last year instead of 5 percent.

(Reporting By Teresa Cespedes and Patricia Velez, Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Eric Walsh & Kim COghill)