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Peru GDP Growth Accelerates on Fishing, Consumer Demand

Peru’s economy grew faster than expected in August as rising consumer demand and a rebound in fishing and mining output offset slowing private investment.

Gross domestic product expanded 7.5 percent from the year earlier, the fastest pace in four months, the national statistics agency said today in an e-mailed report. Economists forecast 7.2 percent growth, according to the median estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. In July, GDP rose 6.5 percent from the same month of 2010.

A surge in fish catches boosted GDP growth for a second month while copper and gold led mining output to accelerate at its fastest since June 2010. Consumer demand for goods and services increased after President Ollanta Humala took office July 28 pledging to boost social spending and lure foreign investment.

Investor confidence is rising, though it remains below pre-election levels on concern that a global recession may hurt Peru’s commodity-dependent economy, said Juan Carlos Odar, an economist at Banco de Credito del Peru.

“Business confidence is recovering little by little, but uncertainty about the global economy will slow the pace of private investment in the months ahead,” Odar said in a phone interview from Lima.

Slowing growth in capital goods imports in August and September are a sign companies have become more cautious, Odar said.

The Andean nation’s central bank on Oct. 6 indicated it is ready to ease its monetary policy stance because of economic stagnation in Europe and the U.S.

The government will expand the fiscal stimulus plan announced last month as there is a greater chance the world will enter a recession, Finance Minister Miguel Castilla said Oct. 7.

Retail output rose 8.5 percent, a three-month high, and was the main driver of growth in August, accounting for 1.3 percentage points of the increase in GDP, the statistics agency said. Fishing output surged 83 percent, mining climbed 3.2 percent and construction advanced 6.7 percent, the fastest since January.

Peru’s sol weakened 0.1 percent to 2.7240 per U.S. dollar at 11:24 a.m. Lima time, from 2.7205 on Oct. 14.

The country’s unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent last month from 7 percent in August, the agency said in a separate report.

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