LIMA Aug 23 (Reuters) - Peru's gross domestic product grew 5.6 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period a year ago on a surge of public spending and investment that offset weak exports, the government said on Friday.
The official 5.6 percent figure follows GDP growth of just 4.6 percent in the first quarter - the slowest quarterly pace in more than three years. Last year Peru's GDP expanded by more than 6 percent in every quarter on an annualized basis.
Peru's fast-paced economy has cooled in 2013 after expanding by 6.3 percent last year - one of the strongest growth rates in the region. In the first half of 2013 GDP grew 5.2 percent, the government statistics agency INEI said.
In the second quarter government spending grew 6.8 percent compared to the same period in 2012, following the first quarter's 5.2 percent expansion. Investments rose by 8.6 percent, while in the first quarter it grew 6.6 percent.
Domestic demand, which has been key in helping the economy offset weaker mineral exports in recent years, slowed slightly from the first quarter to expand a solid 6.7 percent.
Exports shrank 2.6 percent in the second quarter, less than the first-quarter's 8.8 percent contraction.
The government has forecast an economic expansion of about 6 percent this year but is expected to revise down that estimate soon.
GDP expanded by 1.1 percent in the second quarter from the previous quarter.