Peru finance minister says GDP likely not up more than 6 pct in 2014

LIMA, April 10 Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:59pm EDT

LIMA, April 10 (Reuters) - Peru's economic slowdown has bottomed out but more robust growth in coming months will probably not result in an expansion greater than 6 percent this year, the finance minister said on Thursday.

The economy is showing signs of recovery as the Andean country's crucial mining sector rebounds and public investment increases, Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla said.

Last year, the government forecast a 6 percent expansion for 2014.

"We are revising our forecasts obviously given new information, but I don't think it will be an upward revision," Castilla told reporters. "That much I can say."

Peru's economy, which expanded at an annual average rate of around 6.5 percent over the past decade, slowed to growth of 5 percent in 2013 as global prices for the Andean country's mineral exports weakened and domestic demand mellowed.

Castilla said gross domestic product probably rose 5.6 percent last year if a new calculation method were used.

Peru's economy grew 4.2 percent in January, the slowest monthly expansion in eight months.

Castilla said the economy picked up after that and he is especially optimistic about the second half of this year, when more than $10 billion in new infrastructure projects will start to show results.

Castilla also said the government is still working on the creation of a sovereign wealth fund.

"It's not something that has been ruled out at all," Castilla said. "There have been visits from monetary funds, we've received support and technical help, advising."

He said the government has not determined how big the fund would be or when it would be set up.

(Reporting By Mitra Taj and Marco Aquino; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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