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Peru exporter group says metals shipments fell 12.6% through Feb

Bnamericas Published: Friday, April 08, 2016

Peru, the world's third largest copper, zinc and tin producer, saw metals export revenue drop 12.6% through the first two months of the year on declining prices, said the country's main exporter group, Adex.

Gold, silver, zinc and lead export revenue all fell year-on-year through February, offsetting a 4.4% rise in copper exports, Adex said in a statement. Total exports fell 13% as commodities dropped 14.4% to US$4.65bn and manufactured goods led by steel and refined metals slid 10%, the group said.

Export revenue from manufactured goods fell 15% to US$780mn in the month of February alone, the biggest decline in the past five years, as the Peruvian export sector struggles with the effects of the El Niño weather phenomenon and currency devaluation in other markets, Adex said. February export revenue dropped 11.7% to US$2.28bn as commodities exports slid 10.2%.

"These results confirm that the problem for exports doesn't just stem from the drop in international prices," Adex official Eduardo Amorrortu said in the statement. "There isn't a single sector that has managed to escape this debacle. Our main problem is a loss of competitiveness."

The newly elected president of Adex, Juan Varilias, meanwhile, pledged to work with the next government to boost Peru's exports, which have fallen steadily since peaking at US$46.3bn in 2011, according to the central bank. Exports fell 13.6% to US$34.2bn last year as metals dropped 8.3% to US$18.8bn.

President Ollanta Humala is scheduled to step down at the end of July following April 10 general elections. A second round of voting is expected in June if none of the candidates garners at least 50% of the vote.

"The goal will be to help with initiatives so that exports recover over the next two years and top US$46bn, and exceed US$56.4bn by 2020," Varilias said at a ceremony in Lima. "But not just based on mining, fishing and agriculture, but also on other manufacturing and extractive sectors and the development of microenterprise."

Varilias proposed the creation of an export council for the country's regions, to provide backing for entrepreneurs. It would involve representatives of Adex, the banking association Asbanc, the cabinet chief's office and the ministries of foreign trade, agriculture, transport and the environment.

The drop in exports has resulted in the loss of around 172,000 export sector jobs, 7,200 of them in the mining sector and 1,500 in the metalworks sector, Adex has said. At least 74,000 jobs have been lost in the commodities industry, a sector which accounts for 70% of Peru's exports.

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