September 20, 2017 / 4:24 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Peru finance minister says plans to make $9 bln in projects viable

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AREQUIPA, Peru, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Peru’s newly appointed Finance Minister Claudia Cooper said on Wednesday the government had a plan to make $9 billion in projects viable this year and next as the Andean country encourages private investment.

Speaking at a mining conference in southern Peru, she said private investment would fall 2.3 percent this year but should grow 3.5 percent next year. Public investment would expand 7.5 percent this year, said Cooper, who was sworn in on Sunday.

Economic growth in Peru slowed sharply early this year after severe flooding and a graft scandal that stalled public work projects.

An economic recovery hinges on a rebound in public investments, which fell 10.4 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2017.

The government is also counting on private investments in the world’s No. 2 copper and zinc producer to rise as global mineral prices improve.

“All indicators relevant to private investment tell us .. .we’re turning the cycle around,” Cooper said at the Perumin conference.

“We’re trying to generate the necessary environment to increase private investment, which is the axis of economic growth,” she added. (Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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