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Peru 1998 Economic Growth Slows

January 13, 1999

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ Peru’s economy grew by only 1 percent in 1998, far below the government’s original prediction of 5 percent, said Luis Chang Ching, head of the government’s economic commission.

Peru’s economy grew 7.4 percent in 1997, but slowed sharply in 1998 due to the El Nino weather phenomenon and the global financial crisis, which hurt its exports, economists say.

Chang Ching’s statements were published Wednesday in the Lima daily El Comercio.

El Nino’s warm waters decimated Peru’s fishing catch and caused flooding that washed out much of its road and bridge infrastructure.

The government is predicting Peru’s economy will recover in 1999 and grow by 5.5 percent, although that estimate is likely to change following Brazil’s devaluation of its currency Wednesday after the nation’s central bank president resigned.

Private sector analysts have estimated the economy will grow by 3.5 to 4 percent.

The government plans to release the official 1998 growth figure in the first week of February.

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