UPDATE 2-Peru economy surges 6.83 pct in November vs year ago

Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:47pm EST

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LIMA Jan 14 (Reuters) - Peru's economy grew 6.83 percent in November from the same month a year earlier amid a surge in domestic demand, official data showed on Monday.

The expansion, led by construction, was slightly quicker than the 6.71 percent growth in October from the same month a year before.

On a monthly basis, the economy grew 1.3 percent in November from October, reversing a contraction of 1.2 percent in October from September blamed on a series of public holidays.

For full-year 2012, the Andean country's economy is forecast to have grown about 6.3 percent - the fastest pace of expansion in South America. A similar result is expected this year.

The economy grew 6.4 percent in the first 11 months of 2012 from the same period a year earlier.

In November, the construction sector expanded 16.8 percent on the year, with banking up by 10.5 percent and retail sales by 6.3 percent. Growth of 4.8 percent was posted in manufacturing, 7.5 percent in transportation and 7.9 percent in services, the data showed.

Meanwhile, the country's mining sector declined 1.4 percent and the fishing sector in the world's top fishmeal producer shrank 12 percent from the same month a year ago.

The expansion was stronger than expected in November as Peruvians taking loans for everything from new cars to houses continued to drive growth. Domestic demand has outpaced Peru's traditional economic engine of mining exports in most recent quarters.

Nine economists surveyed by Reuters projected the economy had grown 6.3 percent on year in November.

The central bank has kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 4.25 percent for the last 20 months, though it has raised deposit requirements on bank accounts several times to curb capital inflows and credit growth.

The International Monetary Fund last month noted in a report mild risks of overheating in Peru's domestic growth, though the central bank said this month that the expansion appeared to be within the long-term potential expansion rate of 6-6.5 percent - the pace at which growth can occur without generating bouts of high inflation.

Consistent growth has created thousands of new jobs. Peru's official statistics agency also said that the average unemployment rate in the three months through December in metropolitan Lima was 5.6 percent - the lowest rate in at least a decade. In the same period a year ago, the jobless rate was 7 percent.

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