(Reuters) – Peru’s economic activity shot up 18.21% in March compared to the 16.76% drop in the same period last year and after contracting the previous two months, driven by most sectors, reported the Saturday the Government.
The National Statistics Institute (INEI) stated in a statement that production in the first quarter grew by 3.80% and that in the 12 months to March it contracted by 9.48%. The economy of the world’s second largest copper producer had fallen 1.02% year-on-year in January and 3.78% in February.
The March result “responds mainly to the positive behavior of the manufacturing, construction, mining and hydrocarbons, financial and insurance, commerce, telecommunications and transportation sectors; however, the agricultural sector registered a decrease,” said the INEI.
“It should be noted that, in March of this year, eight large sectors of the economy managed to exceed the level of production reached in March 2019 (the year before the pandemic), while six were below that level,” he added.
The agency explained that the mining and hydrocarbons sector expanded by 15.37%, due to higher volumes obtained from copper, zinc, molybdenum, silver, iron, gold and tin. “This sector showed signs of gradual recovery since the last quarter of 2020, in response to the implementation of the national economic reactivation plan.”
Mining is the engine of the country’s economy and represents 60% of the Andean nation’s total exports.
The INEI highlighted in the comparison that in March of last year there were 15 days of confinement with the temporary suspension of most of the productive activities due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Peru is going through the worst moment of the pandemic and the latest figures available from the Ministry of Health report 65,608 deaths and 1.87 million cases of the virus, a health system in crisis and a slow vaccination program compared to its wealthier neighbors in Latin America.
According to official estimates, the economy would grow this year by 10.0%. The Peruvian economy contracted 11.12% in 2020, its worst performance in just over three decades, due to restrictions on productive activity for several months last year.
(Report by Manuel Farías, Edited by xxxxx)