LIMA: Peru’s economic activity shot up 18.21 percent in March compared to single-figure contractions over the previous two months and a 16.76 percent drop in March last year as its key sectors hit their stride following lengthy lockdowns since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic hit, the government said.
Production in the first quarter reached overall growth of 3.80 percent and contracted 9.48 percent in the 12 months through March, statistics agency INEI said in its monthly economic activity report.
INEI said the March figure was a result of eight of the country’s key industrial areas — manufacturing, construction, mining and hydrocarbons, financial and insurance, commerce, telecommunications and transportation sectors — beating March 2020 production levels. The agricultural sector and five others, however, registered declines in production, it added.
The world’s second largest copper producer saw a 15.37 percent expansion in the mining and hydrocarbons sector, due to higher volumes obtained of copper, zinc, molybdenum, silver, iron, gold and tin.
INEI highlighted that productive activity was frozen for 15 days last March because of the pandemic but that the mining industry, which produces 60 percent of Peru’s exports, had been showing “signs of gradual recovery” since the last quarter of 2020, thanks to a national economic reactivation plan which saw the government provide financing to companies to meet COVID-19-related debts.
Peru is at present engulfed in a second wave of the pandemic that is worse than the first, with the latest figures from the Ministry of Health reporting 65,608 deaths and 1.87 million cases of the virus. This time however, Peru has not suspended productive industry.
The country’s economy minister said last month that GDP would grow 10 percent this year, the fastest rate registered since 1994, following a plunge of 11.6 percent in 2020.