Economy - overview: Peru's economy reflects its varied geography - an arid lowland coastal region, the central high sierra of the Andes, the dense forest of the Amazon, with tropical lands bordering Colombia and Brazil. A wide range of important mineral resources are found in the mountainous and coastal areas, and Peru's coastal waters provide excellent fishing grounds. The Peruvian economy has been growing by an average of 6.4% per year since 2002 with a stable/slightly appreciating exchange rate and low inflation, which in 2013 is expected to be below the Central Bank target of 3 percent. Growth has been in the 6-9% range for the last three years, due partly to a leap in private investment, especially in the extractive sector, which accounts for more than 60% of Peru's total exports. Despite Peru's strong macroeconomic performance, dependence on minerals and metals exports and imported foodstuffs subjects the economy to fluctuations in world prices. Poor infrastructure hinders the spread of growth to Peru's non-coastal areas. Peru's rapid expansion coupled with cash transfers and other programs have helped to reduce the national poverty rate by 23 percentage points since 2002, but inequality persists and continues to pose a challenge for the new Ollanta HUMALA administration, which has championed a policy of social inclusion and a more equitable distribution of income. Peru's free trade policy has continued under the HUMALA administration; since 2006, Peru has signed trade deals with the US, Canada, Singapore, China, Korea, Mexico, and Japan, concluded negotiations with the European Free Trade Association and Chile, and begun trade talks with Central American countries and others. Peru also has signed a trade pact with Chile, Colombia, and Mexico called the Pacific Alliance that rivals Mercosur in combined population, GDP, and trade. The US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement entered into force 1 February 2009, opening the way to greater trade and investment between the two economies. Trade agreements with South Korea, Japan, and Mexico also were signed in 2011. Although Peru has continued to attract foreign investment, political disputes and protests may impede development of some projects related to natural resource extraction.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of February 21, 2013
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