Peru's central bank raises its view of trade balance

LIMA Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:22pm EST

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LIMA Dec 14 (Reuters) - Peru will finish 2012 and 2013 with bigger trade surpluses than previously expected, the central bank said on Friday, a sign that the global minerals producer can withstand economic uncertainty abroad.

The central bank raised its view of Peru's 2012 trade balance to $4.4 billion, up from $3.5 billion in November but down from its estimate of $6.7 billion early this year.

Next year the Andean nation will likely post a $4 billion surplus, the central bank said in its quarterly inflation report, raising its earlier forecast of $2.8 billion.

Peru is a top exporter of gold, silver, copper and zinc. But its mineral sales have wavered on lower prices amid the global slowdown.

Strong domestic demand has helped offset slumping exports.

A booming construction sector helped Peru's economy expand 6.71 percent in October over the same month a year ago, the government statistics agency said on Friday.

"That's impressive growth and more than what we expected," Central Bank President Julio Velarde said. "It appears to be growth near potential."

Peru's potential growth rate, the maximum rate the economy can expand without provoking excessive inflation, is normally seen around 6 percent or 6.5 percent.

The central bank expects Peru's economy to grow 6.3 percent in all of 2012, and 6.2 percent in 2013 - one of the fastest-paced expansions in the region.

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