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Banking

Peru: Latin America’s outperformer

Peru is seemingly oblivious to the regional and global slowdown. Despite his country’s economic vitality, Julio Velarde, governor of the Peruvian central bank, is keeping a wary eye on a darker global horizon.

Julio Velarde, Peru’s respected central bank governor, reels off an impressive list of growth figures. "We will finish the second quarter with 5.9% [GDP growth] or 6% and domestic demand grew by 7.8%," he says. "We are expecting 6.4% [GDP growth] for June, and the numbers for July are pretty impressive in some of the sectors. Domestic cement production is up 19% year on year. Our official projection for this year is 5.8%, but I expect, maybe, more."

In September the Peruvian real economy continued to demonstrate its gravity-defying growth in the face of global weakness. Data showed that total salaries paid in the economy rose by 14.6% in August 2012 on the same month in 2011, down slightly on the 15.4% year-on-year growth registered in July but still resilient. The unemployment rate fell to 6.2%, compared with 7% in the same period in the previous year. Average salaries rose 8.2% in nominal terms and 4.8% after adjusting for consumer-price inflation.

With strong growth and falling inflation (although a supply-side shock is expected through high grain prices), the central bank is pursuing a wait-and-see approach to monetary policy.

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