Peru’s GDP Grows at Slowest in Three Years as Investment Eases

Peru’s economy expanded at the slowest pace in more than three years in the first quarter as investment growth eased and exports fell.

Gross domestic product rose 4.8 percent from the same period a year earlier, the government’s statistics agency said in an e-mailed report today, matching the median forecast of 13 analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Growth slowed from 5.9 percent in the fourth quarter as a weak global economy curbed demand for the country’s copper and textiles, pushing exports down 10 percent from the year earlier in real terms. Red tape and declining business sentiment is holding back investment and policy makers are open to cutting interest rates if the deceleration worsens, central bank President Julio Velarde said yesterday.

“There are delays in permits and licenses and poor communication between the private sector and the government,” said Alejandro Arreaza, an analyst Barclays Plc, by phone from New York. “Together with the decline in commodity prices, that’s affecting the investment climate.”

Fixed asset investment rose 6.9 percent from a year ago, compared with 13 percent in the fourth quarter, the agency said. The construction industry expanded 12 percent, retail climbed 5 percent and manufacturing shrank 0.2 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the economy grew 2.1 percent in the first quarter from the previous three months.

The sol was little changed at 2.6670 per U.S. dollar at 11:12 a.m. in Lima, according to Datatec prices.

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