UPDATE 1-Peru economy grows 5.94 pct in Sept, below forecast

Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:23am EST

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LIMA Nov 15 (Reuters) - Peru's economy grew 5.94 percent in September from the same month a year ago, official data showed on Thursday, driven by strong domestic demand and an uptick in mining activity.

The result was at the low end of forecasts from 16 economists that ranged from 5.9 percent to 7.1 percent with a median of 6.5 percent, according to a Reuters poll.

In August, the economy grew 6.33 percent from a year earlier, the INEI statistics agency said.

The Andean economy, which has boomed for much of the past decade, is forecast to grow around 6 percent this year, one of the fastest paces in Latin America. The government expects growth will again top 6 percent in 2013.

The construction sector grew 19.22 percent in September from a year ago, while retail sales rose 14.57 percent and the mining and oil sector gained 4.95 percent after months of slippage on softer global prices.

Compared with August, economic activity rose 1.1 percent in September, the INEI statistics institute said.

Peru is among the world's top producers of copper, zinc and tin, but declining export earnings for minerals have led the central bank to trim its view for the full-year 2012 trade surplus to $3.5 billion from $6.7 billion.

Growth has cut unemployment. The average jobless rate in metropolitan Lima for the three months through October was 6.2 percent, a decline of 1.1 percentage points from the same period a year ago, the INEI also reported on Thursday.

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