Peru is one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America, expanding an average of 6.1% between 2002 and 2013, according to figures from the World Bank. Growth slowed in recent months, but a rebound in mining helped Peru achieve a better-than-expected 2.68% expansion in March, compared to the same month in 2014.
Peru is the world’s third-largest copper producer and the eighth-largest gold producer. About 60% of its export earnings come from mineral shipments, according to business news service Reuters. Fishing and financial services are expanding sectors of the economy, as well, taking up some of the slack left by a decline in natural gas and crude oil production. The economy grew 2.35% in 2014, and the government estimates growth of 4% this year.
China and the United States are Peru’s top trading partners, and the former has made a public display of support in recent months. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Peru in May. During the visit, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala agreed to a feasibility study for China’s proposed 5,300-kilometer (3,300-mile) east-west railway stretching from Peru to Brazil. The estimated US$10 billion-plus project would help China reduce the cost of shipping raw materials and agriculatural products. Opponents contend it could destroy undeveloped parts of the Amazon rainforest and affect hundreds of indigenous communities.
Business travel industry insight
Business travelers to Peru must obtain a business visa from a Peruvian consulate before entering the country. Upon arrival, it’s essential to obtain an entry stamp, which must be shown in order to leave Peru. Declare electronics and items for commercial use when you arrive; failure to do so could lead to incarceration, fines and seizure of undeclared items, including laptop computers. Security is a significant concern in rural areas—less so in cities, where the more common problem for visitors is disruptions caused by protests or strikes. Peru’s expanding tourism sector has improved amenities, and business travelers to urban areas can choose from a variety of hotels and easily find ATMs.
- Mining continues to expand in Peru, with two new copper mines, Constancia and Toromocho, ramping up production this year.
- The U.S. recovery may partially offset the effect China’s economic slowdown has had on the Peruvian economy.
- Economic prosperity has reached Peru’s poor. Between 2005 and 2013, poverty rates fell by more than half—from approximately 55.6% to 23.9% of the population, according to the World Bank.
- Mining often pits business and government interests against indigenous and environmental groups. For example, in late May the government initiated two months of martial law in the southern state of Arequipa, where local residents are protesting a planned copper mine.
- This year’s El Niño, a periodic warming of Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures, could disrupt fishing and other key Peruvian industries.
- Despite the country’s economic gains, many Peruvians lack full access to health services, education and employment.
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