Peru cenbank sees trade balance improving on new mines


Lima, Sep. 13 (ANDINA). Peru's trade balance should improve in the coming months, thanks to the startup of new mining projects and improvements in the global economy, the Central Reserve Bank of Peru said Friday.

The central bank's chief economist, Adrian Armas, told reporters that Peru's exports should start to recover in the fourth quarter with the start of production at Chinese-owned Minera Chinalco Peru's $3.5 billion Toromocho copper project.

"Going forward we're expecting a recovery in the trade balance," Armas said. "Mining projects like Toromocho will come into production in the fourth quarter and a series of other projects are going to come as well."

According to Dow Jones News Wires, Armas added that he sees improvements in the economies of the United States, Europe and China, which will help support Peru's economic activity and exports.

Peru is a major global producer of copper, gold, silver and other metals, which account for about 60% of the country's total exports. Toromocho is one of several large-scale mining projects expected to come online in the next couple of years, which will provide a boost to Peru's exports.

Peru's exports have been hurt so far this year by lower prices for metals partially due to slower growth from China. In July, Peru posted a trade deficit of $550 million, bringing the deficit in the first seven months to $1.2 billion. In the January-to-July period last year, Peru had a trade surplus of $2.9 billion.

Economic growth has also slowed in recent months. A central bank survey of 18 economic analysts released Friday found that the consensus for growth this year is 5.5%, down from a previous outlook of 5.7%.

Peru's gross domestic product expanded 5.2% in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2012. The country's GDP grew 6.3% last year.

The central bank's board of directors left its reference interest rate unchanged on Thursday at 4.25%, where it has been since May 2011. The decision was widely expected, as annual inflation is currently above the central bank's target range of 1% to 3%.

The central bank expects inflation to converge back to within the target range in the coming months.