Peru’s Economy Grows in February and Beats Almost All Forecasts

(Bloomberg) -- Peru’s economy expanded more than expected in February compared to a year earlier, as the country emerges from its second-worst recession in 33 year.

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The economy grew 2.85% from the same month a year earlier, the national statistics agency said Monday, much higher than the median estimate of 2.1% growth among 10 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The figure beat all but one of those forecasts. Output expanded 1.19% from a month earlier.

Peru’s economy has now posted two straight months of growth on both an annual and month-on-month basis. The government and central bank see the economy possibly rebounding to hit 3% growth in 2024 after a rare contraction last year, driven by political crises and bad weather.

On an annual basis, growth in February was boosted by base effects as Peru was undergoing historic anti-government protests in the same month last year that disrupted the economy. Mining output grew 16% in the month compared to a year earlier, INEI said.

The central bank surprisingly cut interest rates this month, defying inflation figures that have so far failed to cool down to the desired target range. But the bank now says it is confident inflation can hit 2% in coming months.

Peruvian President Dina Boluarte is still dealing with fallout from a crisis triggered by her use of expensive Rolex watches that led prosecutors to launch an illegal enrichment investigation.

Boluarte has denied any wrongdoing and said the jewelry were a loan from a political ally. A poll published over the weekend showed 92% of Peruvians do not believe the watches were a loan, while Boluarte’s popularity has dipped to 7%.

--With assistance from Rafael Gayol.

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