February 16, 2009 / 4:16 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Peru's GDP surges 9.84 pct in 2008, slips in December

(Adds unemployment, wages)

LIMA, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Peru’s gross domestic product surged 9.84 percent in 2008, its fastest pace since 1994, but there are mounting signs that Latin America’s fastest-growing economy is starting to slow.

In December, the pace of growth eased to 4.9 percent from the same month a year ago, according to the country’s statistics agency. In November, growth cooled to 5.08 percent.

Construction was a bright spot in December, climbing 10.33 percent, and growing 16.46 percent in 2008. Mining was relatively weak in December, growing 3.41 percent, and rose 7.58 percent for the year.

This year, Peru’s economy is expected to slow to about 5 percent as prices fall for its metals exports, which normally make up 60 percent of all exports. Credit growth is also slowing on the global financial crisis.

But the government has unveiled a stimulus package to boost public investment at a time when capital spending by businesses is slipping.

The jobless rate in metropolitan Lima, which is used as a proxy for the country, rose to 8.8 percent in the last three months through January, from 8.1 percent in the same period last year.

The average wage in Peru’s capital, Lima, rose 11.6 percent to 1,047 soles ($324) from the year-ago period. ($1=3.23 soles) (Reporting by Dana Ford; Editing by Maureen Bavdek and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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