UPDATE 2-Peru economic growth speeds to 6.71 pct, led by construction

Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:07am EST

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LIMA Dec 14 (Reuters) - Peru's economy grew 6.71 percent in October from the same month a year ago, official data showed on Friday, a result that was stronger than expected in South America's fastest-growing economy.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast growth of 6 percent.

While the economy surged from a year ago, it shrank 1.2 percent in October from September, in part because of three holidays that kept people away from their jobs, the data from the national statistics institute INEI showed. Last month, the INEI said the economy grew 1.1 percent in September from August.

Expansion in October from the same month a year ago was led by a 16.33 percent rise in construction activity, a 5.92 percent gain in retail sales and manufacturing output that rose 4.54 percent.

Those results overshadowed a 3.33 percent decline in mining and petroleum production.

Domestic demand and consumption have powered Peru's economy for much of the past two years, overtaking the country's traditional engine of mineral exports.

Peru's economy grew 6.2 percent in the 12 months through October and is on track to grow about 6.3 percent this year.

The INEI also said the average jobless rate in metropolitan Lima for the three months through November was 5.9 percent, lower than 7 percent in the same period a year ago.

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