Peru reports biggest jump in consumer prices in nearly four years

LIMA, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Consumer prices in Peru rose 0.74% in January, the largest year-on-year increase in nearly four years as fuel and food prices spiked amid a second wave of coronavirus infections, the government said on Monday.

The National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI) said in a statement that the cost of food and beverages, which weigh most heavily on the indicator, jumped 1.43%, while that of fuels and home rentals rose 1.11%.

The increase in prices is the biggest since March 2017, according to government data. The January statistic pushed rolling 12-month inflation to 2.68%, nearing the high end of the central bank’s 1%-3% target range.

Peru’s economy likely contracted 11.6% last year as a result of the pandemic, according to official projections. Annual inflation in 2020 hit 1.97%, slightly higher than the 1.90% increase in consumer prices registered in 2019. (Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Dave Sherwood Editing by Paul Simao)