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Peru 2015 metals exports down 8.4%

Bnamericas Published: Friday, February 05, 2016

Peru, the world's third largest copper, zinc and tin producer, saw metals exports drop 8.4% last year as prices slumped, forcing companies to cut tens of thousands of jobs.

Metals exports fell to US$17.9bn in 2015 from US$19.6bn the year before as Peru's overall exports dropped for the fourth straight year, by 13.9% to US$33.3bn, exporters' association Adex reported. Peruvian exports have fallen 28% since peaking at US$46.4bn in 2011.

Commodities exports fell 16.6% to US$22.5bn and those of steel and metallurgical products dropped 6.3% to US$994mn, Adex said. Exports of metal-mechanic products fell 10.8% to US$534mn, while those of non-metallic mining exports led by phosphates gained 4.7% to US$697mn.

The steady decline in exports meant 172,000 workers have lost their jobs, 7,200 of them in the mining sector and 1,500 in the metalworks industry, the group said. Overall 74,000 jobs were cut in the commodities industry, which accounts for 70% of Peru's exports.

"Economic growth is based on exports and investment," Adex president Eduardo Amorrortu said. "These in turn are based on the trust generated by a close and constructive public-private relationship."

The export sector needs a 5% tax break known as a drawback in order to prevent further bankruptcies, Adex said. Peruvian exporters pay four times as much in logistics costs as the world average and have to deal with constant labor and tax audits and 10-15 government agencies, according to the association.

Fuel costs have yet to fall, while electricity rates have risen, and Peru's currency is depreciating at a slower rate than the rest of the region, said Adex, which proposed greater government investment in formalization, productivity, competitiveness, worker development and safety.

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