Peru's GDP declines 0.63% in Feb, beats expectations

Peru's gross domestic product (GDP) shrunk 0.63% in February compared with the same month last year, the government's INEI statistics agency said on Saturday, beating expectations by analysts who forecast a bigger decline.

It was a second successive month of decline after the economy began to contract in January following 22 months of growth, hurt by nationwide anti-government protests. Peru's finance ministry, though, said growth should return soon.

Economic activity in February was hit by "continuity of social conflicts, which resulted in work stoppages, road blockades, market closures, among other issues, which occurred in some areas of the country," INEI said in a statement.

Analysts interviewed by Reuters forecast a 0.90% decline in the GDP.

Economic activity in the world's no. 2 copper producer was dented by a decline in several sectors, including construction, telecommunications, as well as finance and insurance.

Peru's finance ministry said in a statement on Saturday that it expects "the economy to register positive rates again as of March, in line with the behavior of the leading indicators of economic activity", helped by a decline in social unrest.