Bloomberg News

Peru Inflation Accelerates in September as Fuel Prices Rise

October 01, 2011

(Updates with annual inflation rate in second paragraph, food costs in fifth.)

Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Peruvian consumer prices rose more than expected last month as climbing fuel prices offset a drop in the cost of food.

Consumer price growth accelerated to 0.33 percent in September from 0.27 percent in August, according to a statement published today in El Peruano, the official gazette. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 12 analysts was for a 0.26 percent increase. Annual inflation accelerated to a two- year high of 3.73 percent from 3.35 percent.

Higher food and energy prices in the first half of the year pushed the South American country’s monthly inflation rate to a three-year high of 0.79 percent in July. An average 5 percent increase in fuel prices will be phased in over two months, the government said Aug. 25. The monthly inflation rate may slow to close to zero before year-end as food prices reverse earlier gains, central bank President Julio Velarde said Sept. 16.

“Inflation would have been lower had it not been for the fuel price adjustment,” said Mario Guerrero, an economist at Scotiabank Peru SA in Lima. “Soybean, wheat and corn have been falling in the international market, while better weather has boosted the supply of local farm produce, leading to lower food prices.”

Gasoline Prices Up

Gasoline prices increased 2.1 percent last month, bus fares climbed 1.4 percent and residential electricity costs rose 1.1 percent, the national statistics agency said in an e-mailed report. Chicken declined 1.1 percent and vegetables fell 1.6 percent.

Peru is a net importer of crude oil, soybeans, corn and wheat. Food and drink products constitute 38 percent of the consumer price index.

The central bank kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 4.25 percent for a fourth month on Sept. 8, citing slower domestic and global growth. Policy makers next meet Oct. 6. The bank targets annual inflation of 1 percent to 3 percent.

The sol weakened 0.1 percent last week, closing at 2.7725 per dollar yesterday from 2.7690 on Sept. 23.

Peru’s mining production rose for the first time in three months in August and fishing output surged, the statistics agency said in a separate report today. Mining rose 2.3 percent from a year earlier and fishing climbed 83 percent. A pick-up in construction activity fueled a 7.3 percent increase in cement demand, the first increase in three months, while electricity output rose 9.6 percent.

--Editors: Alex Nicholson, Joe Sabo.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Quigley in Lima at jquigley8@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net.


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