Peru’s Economy Expanded 6.2% in January From Year Earlier

March 15 (Bloomberg) -- Peru’s economy expanded 6.2 percent in January from the year earlier as construction activity offset a slide in demand for its metal exports.

The growth in economic activity accelerated from 4.3 percent in December, the government’s statistics agency said in a report issued today in Lima. The median forecast of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for growth of 6.4 percent. The construction industry expanded 18.4 percent.

A consumer spending boom and investment in housing, malls and transport infrastructure have shielded South America’s fastest-growing economy from a slump in exports, which fell 20 percent in January. Domestic demand isn’t stirring inflationary pressures, allowing the central bank to leave its benchmark lending rate unchanged for a 22nd month on March 7.

The Peruvian sol was little changed at 2.593 per U.S. dollar at 10:16 a.m. in Lima. The currency fell to a three-month low of 2.6120 on March 7 after the central bank increased reserve requirements to counter rising dollar inflows.

Peru’s Finance Ministry, which had forecast 7 percent growth for January, projects a 6.3 percent expansion in the first quarter after a 5.9 percent rise in the previous three months.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Quigley in Lima at jquigley8@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net.