UPDATE 1-Peru finance minister raises GDP view to 6.3 pct

Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:06pm EST

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LIMA Dec 11 (Reuters) - Peru's economy will likely grow 6.3 percent in 2012, Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla said on Tuesday, faster than official estimates and likely the quickest expansion in South America as domestic demand surges.

The government and the central bank have both forecast the economy will grow 6 percent this year, but Central Bank President Julio Velarde said last week that GDP could rise 6.2 percent.

It will be "6.3 percent for the whole year," Castilla said after attending an economics forum in Congress.

Peru's economy has been growing, on average, around 6 percent a year for the past decade - a pace that economists say it can sustain without suffering excessive bouts of inflation. Last year, the economy grew 6.9 percent.

Growth over the past few years has been driven by domestic demand for everything from cars to houses, along with investments in new mines, roads and power plants.

Strong domestic demand has offset a slowdown in exports and prices for Peru's vast mineral exports, which for years led growth.

Peru's statistics agency said on Tuesday exports fell in October by 1.2 percent to $3.8 billion from a year ago, with mineral exports down 10.8 percent and agriculture exports off 29.9 percent.

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