LIMA Dec 28 Peru's sol closed at 2.552
per U.S. dollar on Friday, ending the year with gains of 5.72
percent despite record intervention by the central bank, which
purchased $13.85 billion in U.S. dollars to curb the local
currency's advances to a 16-year high.
Analysts polled by Reuters at the start of the year
predicted the sol would remain nearly unchanged at around 2.68,
while a few predicted a gain of as much as 3 percent to 2.60.
Peru's strong economy and the U.S. Federal Reserve's
stimulus helped stoke the sol's advances, leaving Peru's central
bank trying to soak up excess liquidity.
The monetary authority bought dollars in the local spot
market every day since Aug. 27 but only managed to slow the pace
of the currency's appreciation, not stop it.
This year, the central bank also restricted the ability of
banks to make bets in the currency market and tightened reserve
requirements several times to stem the inflow of speculative
capital as the sol reached levels not seen since 1996.
The sol ended bidding at 2.546 per dollar on Thursday - its
strongest level in more than 16 years - but finished the year
slightly weaker after the central bank bought $40 million on
A Reuters analysis after the Federal Reserve announced its
third round of financial easing in September said the sol would
finish bidding this year at 2.55 per dollar.
Meanwhile, performance in the stock market turned out to be
less robust than analysts predicted.
At the start of 2012, equity analysts surveyed by Reuters
said Lima's main stock index would finish the year with
gains of between 15 percent and 30 percent.
Though the index did rise 23.5 percent through April, it
then retreated on a host of worries - from the slowdown in
China, to debt woes in Europe, to a sluggish U.S. economy.
As of Friday, Lima's bourse was on track to finish the year
at around 20,400 points, a rise of just 4 percent. It will be
open for limited trade on Monday.