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20090324 – Hunger intensifies despite economic growth in Peru

Posted in 3 Cables with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by Farid Matuk

32 percent of Peruvians get inadequate food

Slower economic growth likely to push up hunger rates

By Dana Ford

LIMA, March 24 (Reuters) – More Peruvians went hungry last year despite blazing economic growth, a sign that President Alan Garcia is stumbling in efforts to direct benefits of an impressive expansion to the poor.

The percentage of people in Peru with inadequate nutrition rose by more than 11 percent in 2008, faster than the economy’s 9.8 percent surge, according to the national statistics agency.

Now, 32 percent of Peruvians do not get enough to eat.

The results suggest the poor did not make gains during Peru’s economic boom last year. They also explain in part why the government is so unpopular in rural areas, where hunger rates are highest and leftist politicians like Ollanta Humala, who plans to run for office in 2011, draw support.

“The benefits of the economic boom have not been distributed equally,” said Federico Arnillas, president of a network of civic groups that works on poverty issues with the health and finance ministries.

Garcia, who embraced mainstream economic policies after his first term in the 1980s ended in runaway inflation that made adequate food too costly for millions of people, has said he wants to reduce poverty to 30 percent by the time he leaves office.

When he was re-elected in 2006, Garcia fervently pushed investment and free trade and his recipe to lift incomes seemed to work. Prices for Peru’s metal exports surged and domestic demand rose, contributing to rapid economic growth.

The national poverty rate fell 5 percent in 2007 to 39 percent, a year when inflation was low and public spending on food programs was relatively high.

But in 2008, hunger crept up, as inflation spiked on a global run up in food prices and aid spending fell. Peru’s poverty rate for last year is not yet available, but experts say the government may have lost ground. That could hurt Garcia’s approval rating, now at 34 percent.

“The numbers tell us there is a percentage of the population that is, quite literally, dying of hunger,” said Farid Matuk, a former director of the national statistics agency and a government critic.

In rural areas, where Garcia’s support is weak, the number of people not eating enough rose to 42.5 percent in 2008.

Arnillas said the increase stems from political decisions and pointed to cuts in social spending.

“It’s not a simple resource problem. It’s a political one,” he said of hunger in Peru.

LOOKING AHEAD

Advocates say slower economic growth this year will likely push hunger rates higher and are urging the government to adopt policies that prioritize food security.

Peru’s government is rolling out a $3 billion stimulus package meant to maintain investment and employment levels and increase public work projects. The plan, which aims for economic growth of at least 5 percent, also includes agricultural incentives to boost local food production.

Matuk, the former statistics agency head, said the government is too focused on high macroeconomic growth figures and should have paid more attention to the poor before the global economy entered a crisis.

Arnillas said Peru needs a bigger safety net as private economists forecast growth of less than 1 percent this year.

“We are worried the poor will wind up paying the cost of the crisis,” he said. “This is what happened in the past and we are working to make sure it does not happen again.” (Editing by Terry Wade and Vicki Allen)

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN24355472

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20090317 – Economía peruana empieza a frenarse

Posted in La República with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2009 by Farid Matuk

La República 17-III-09

La República 17-III-09

En enero PBI creció solo 3.14%, la tasa más baja desde junio del 2004. Desaceleración se evidencia desde octubre del 2008. En el primer mes de este año cayeron sectores pesca (-21.05%) y manufactura (-2.69%).

Rocío Maldonado

Se acentúa la desaceleración de nuestra economía. El Producto Bruto Interno (PBI) nacional se expandió  solo 3.14% en enero último, índice menor al alcanzado en diciembre 2008 (4.90%) y enero 2008 (11.08%).  Este resultado revela también que la velocidad en el ritmo de crecimiento viene disminuyendo desde octubre del año pasado (ver infografía).

La cifra del PBI del primer mes del año es la tasa más baja desde junio del 2004 y fue menor a lo proyectado por analistas en un sondeo de la agencia Reuters (4.0%)  y a lo estimado por el Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas (4.5%).

La desaceleración económica se explica por retrocesos en los sectores manufactura (-2.69%), pesca (-21.05%) y agricultura (-1.46%).

En contraparte, en enero se registró un crecimiento de los sectores minería e hidrocarburos (10.69%) y construcción (4.50%), respecto al mismo mes del 2008. En este último  sector influyó el avance físico de obras (realizadas por el programa Provías para rehabilitación de caminos), que subió en 145.98%.

El jefe del INEI, Renán Quispe, dijo que el menor ritmo de producción de la economía responde a que las empresas están vendiendo las existencias acumuladas desde el cuarto trimestre del 2008. “Ha habido una menor producción porque no se ha registrado la demanda esperada en ese periodo”, explicó Quispe, quien estimó que la producción nacional podría retomar un mayor dinamismo a partir del segundo trimestre del 2009.

Futuro sombrío

Menos optimista se mostró el ex jefe del INEI Farid Matuk respecto a retomar la senda del crecimiento. En su opinión, la situación se revertiría recién en abril del 2010.

“Estamos de bajada y vamos a continuar así por seis trimestres. Estimo que la caída será a razón de dos puntos porcentuales por trimestre”, señaló Matuk, quien reafirmó su proyección de que el PBI cerrará el año en -1%.

Por ello cuestionó que, mientras en el mundo los gobiernos se preparan para enfrentar la debacle económica, en el Perú el presidente García hable de pánicos psicológicos. “Europa, EEUU y Japón están en recesión. Esto es lo real”, subrayó.

Cifras

10.6% creció sector minería e hidrocarburos en enero.

0.16% bajó índice de precios al consumidor a nivel nacional en febrero.

0.04% subió grupo de alimentos y bebidas, influenciado por el alza de hortalizas y legumbres frescas.

Acortar plazos para crecer

Según el economista Kurt Burneo, el dato de enero revela que la crisis externa ya golpea la economía interna, básicamente en el sector manufactura, pero sobre todo echa por tierra la teoría del “blindaje”. Por ello consideró urgente que el gobierno tome medidas para, sin descuidar  la fiscalización, acelere los plazos en las licitaciones públicas. “En el caso de las compras a las mypes de productos como calzado, carpetas, uniformes, recién el 15 de febrero se publicó el decreto que regulaba el proceso”, subrayó.

En ese sentido, advirtió que si el gobierno no ajusta los plazos, el plan de estímulo económico no dará los resultado esperados y podrían observarse cifras negativas en el crecimiento económico a partir del segundo semestre del año. “Así como van las cosas, la producción nacional crecería 2% este año en el mejor de los casos y condicionado al éxito del plan anticrisis”, apuntó.

La desaceleración del PBI

La desaceleración del PBI

http://www.larepublica.pe/archive/all/larepublica/20090317/1/node/181318/total/01

Resultados a la carta (16-II-09)

Posted in 02 - Febrero, Año 2009 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2009 by Farid Matuk

El Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática difundirá el lunes la cifra del Producto Interior Bruto de diciembre y de todo el 2008.

Reuters 12-II-09

El jefe del Estado indicó que por la mañana (del domingo) recibió las cifras oficiales del Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI). El informe completo será dado a conocer hoy (lunes).

La República 16-II-09

Adelantándose al reporte oficial que el INEI tiene previsto dar hoy, el presidente Alan García informó que la economía peruana avanzó 9.84% en 2008, una cifra que va por encima de las proyecciones del propio Gobierno que esperaba un 9.4%.

Peru21 16-II-09

Uno de los principios fundamentales de transparecia estadística es que el Jefe de Estado no recibe los resultados un día, y el resto del país los recibe al día siguiente. Solamente en dictaduras, los resultados estadísticos tienen una aprobación del Ejecutivo antes de ser entregados al público.

Pero la relación del Presidente García con la estadística no es nueva, ya en 1987 ordenó al INEI publicar un PBI mensual que ningún país del mundo publicaba, y que al día de hoy sólo otros dos lo hacen (Canadá y Finlandia). Y el propósito del PBI mensual era resaltar el auge económico de sus primeros años de gestión.

Pero cuando el crecimiento económico de 1986 y 1987 se empezaron a desvanecer impuso la publicación de inflación neta e inflación bruta con el fin de confundir la real naturaleza de su política económica que nos condujo a la hiperinflación mas larga de Latinoamérica superando a Bolivia y Nicaragua.

Ahora en 2009, en un hecho inusitado e inédito, la oficina de estadística rompe el principio de acceso simultáneo a la información, y provee un acceso privilegiado al Presidente de la República con el claro fin de permiterle obtener ventaja política del conocimiento adelantado de las cifras oficiales.

De la misma manera que las cifras de pobreza muestran una reducción irreal entre 2005 y 2007, el anuncio del crecimiento del PBI en prácticamente 10% en 2008, prepara el camino para una reducción aún mas fabulosa de la pobreza para este año. Teniendo presente que hasta el día de hoy no son disponibles los programas de cómputo utilizados por la presente administración.

20050516 – Economía creció 5,35 en primer trimestre

Posted in Invertia with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2009 by Farid Matuk

La economía peruana supero durante el primer trimestre las proyecciones de los analistas y continuó con su galopante crecimiento, incrementándose en el orden del 5,35 por ciento durante dicho período, informó hoy el Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI).

Lima.- La economía peruana supero durante el primer trimestre las proyecciones de los analistas y continuó con su galopante crecimiento, incrementándose en el orden del 5,35 por ciento durante dicho período, informó hoy el Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI).

El INEI detalla que durante los tres primeros meses del 2005 la economía peruana, con un valor de 68.421 millones de dólares, creció 5,35 por ciento y en marzo se expandió 4,02 por ciento.

Estas cifras superan los cálculos del Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas (MEF), que proyectó una expansión económica de 5,2 por ciento en el primer trimestre y de 3,8 por ciento en marzo.

Cabe agregar que el resultado de marzo fue menor al crecimiento económico de 6,74 por ciento de febrero, aunque la producción este último mes fue inflado por la entrega de un bono especial a los empleados públicos.Se debe precisar además que uno de los factores de la caída de las cifras en marzo se debe a que el sector manufacturero, el que más empleos genera, cayó a su más bajo nivel en más de un año.

Analistas de nuestro medio habían pronosticado un crecimiento de entre 4,3 y 4,6 por ciento en marzo, incremento dominado por los sectores de minería y pesca, además de la misma industria manufacturera, específicamente la de textiles.

El Producto Bruto Interno (PBI) del primer trimestre es mayor a la expansión de 4,82 por ciento del mismo período del año pasado, lo cual mantiene a nuestro país en un franco camino de crecimiento.

También se debe destacar el pronóstico del titular del MEF, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, quien hace unos días sostuvo que para fin de año la economía peruana puede llegar a crecer hasta un 6 por ciento. Ello, pese a que el dato oficial para la expansión económica de este año es de 4,5 por ciento.

Para el año 2006, tanto Kuczynski como el titular del INEI, Farid Matuk, esperan un crecimiento de menor rango, de alrededor de 4 por ciento, debido a la coyuntura electoral.

En declaraciones a la agencia Reuters, Matuk señaló que estaba “más optimista que el más optimista para el 2005 y más pesimista que el más pesimista para el 2006”.

http://pe.invertia.com/noticias/noticia.aspx?idNoticia=200505161410_INV_28497221

Garcia takes power facing Peru poverty “time bomb”

Posted in 3 Cables with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2009 by Farid Matuk

 

By Robin Emmott  |  July 26, 2006

PUNO, Peru (Reuters) – President-elect Alan Garcia takes office on Friday warning Peru is a “time bomb” that could explode into crippling protests if his government cannot combine its pro-business agenda with cutting chronic poverty.

Garcia, who is anxious to make amends for his disastrous first term in 1985-1990 that sparked economic collapse, faces the huge challenge of delivering the benefits of Peru’s unprecedented economic growth since 2002, while keeping international bondholders happy with a careful fiscal policy.

Poor Peruvians make up half the country’s 27 million population, especially in the southern Andes bordering Bolivia, and most did not vote for Garcia. They are impatient for jobs, access to clean drinking water and schools and hospitals.

“We’ll give Garcia six months to show some results. If nothing’s happened, we’ll start the protests,” said Luis Vilcapaza, who represents some 100,000 farmers in Peru’s southern Andes province of Puno.

Investors are keen to avoid the kind of political instability that almost toppled outgoing President Alejandro Toledo in 2004 and take advantage of Peru’s oil, gas and mineral wealth. Peru is the world’s No. 3 copper-producing nation and aims to export natural gas to Mexico from 2010.

Garcia’s presidential win in June was by a slim margin, giving him a weak mandate in a fractured congress.

His left-leaning American Popular Revolutionary Alliance party, known as APRA, is in the minority, while the party of losing presidential candidate Ollanta Humala has promised fierce opposition from its 45 seats in congress, nine more than

APRA.

“We face a time bomb because during Toledo’s term, the economy grew to benefit only 30 percent of the population,” Garcia said in a speech this month to residents of a shanty town on the edge of Lima.

“We will create economic progress that will allow us to confront these time bombs.”

Peruvians in the south say they want the kind of economic nationalism favored by Venezuela’s anti-U.S. President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian leader Evo Morales, not policies supported by Wall Street such as privatization.

SOCIAL PROBLEMS LOOM

They say that is the only way to ease social ills in a country where the gross domestic product per capita is lower than in 1975.

About 62 percent of young Peruvians are poor, according to a study by the U.N. Population Fund and the Peruvian health ministry.

The number of Peruvian women who die during childbirth is one of the highest levels in Latin America. One in three women in Peru’s jungle region become pregnant before age 20.

Malaria, tuberculosis and sexual violence against women also are all major problems in Peru.

“Garcia urgently needs to help the young,” outgoing Health Minister Pilar Mazetti told Reuters. “Otherwise we’ll see frustrations boil over into protests, the formation of gangs and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.”

Farid Matuk, outgoing head of Peru’s National Statistics Institute, said the solution is not in faster economic growth, as Garcia has pledged, because the economy only needs to grow above 3.3 percent annually to alleviate poverty.

Rather, Garcia should aim to develop the economy away from its historic dependence on mineral exports by helping small businesses and improving the way public funds are spent.

Peru’s mining regions will receive a record $800 million in 2006 from royalties and taxes, equivalent to slightly more than the government’s total annual health and education budget. But locals and miners say the money is not being properly spent.

“We need to see jobs and better schools, working hospitals,” said 43-year-old rickshaw driver Gabriel Tipo, a widower in Puno with five children. “If things don’t get better, I think Humala should stage a coup and take over government.”

La dolce vita: Is Peru’s feelgood factor spreading?

Posted in 3 Cables with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2009 by Farid Matuk

By Jude Webber

PACHACUTEC, Peru, Nov 29 (Reuters) – President Alejandro Toledo boasts that more Peruvians are going to the movies — a sure sign, he says, that improving gross domestic product statistics mean la dolce vita (the sweet life) is spreading. Economists call it the trickle down effect — and trickle is the word, say residents in Pachacutec, a sprawling shanty town of straw and wood huts on the sandy hills sloping up from the Pacific Ocean at the northern fringe of Peru’s capital. “Things are gradually getting better. Two months ago I didn’t have a job. Now I have some work … It’s not great but I can pay for my daughter’s school,” said construction worker Emerson Reategui, 42, on his way with a sheaf of documents to apply for official property rights to his shanty town home.

“We’ve got to give Toledo more time to work. He’s made a lot of promises. In Pachacutec we feel he’s keeping them slowly — but he is keeping them in things like property rights, which he’s starting to give, and job projects,” said Carlos Ricaldi, 28, in his small but well-stocked store. “I see progress.” Toledo, who took office in July 2001 promising more jobs and prosperity, hails Latin America’s No. 7 economy as the region’s darling this year, saying international markets made their feelings plain by clamoring for a $500 million bond that Peru sold this week to raise cash to plug its budget deficit. Although the issue meant Peru beefing up its borrowing just as Argentina’s multiple debt defaults and Brazil’s ability to manage its $260 billion public debt have worried markets, economists were cheered by the relatively cheap interest rates it won. Peru expects its 2003 debt servicing costs to rise to $2.2 billion from around $2 billion now, but trumpets its nearly $10 billion in international reserves as a sign of solidity.

Indeed, the government is so delighted with the health of the economy — illustrated by ever rosier performance reports, including an official September growth figure of 7.3 percent — that it has jacked up its 2002 GDP growth target to 4.2 percent from a previous 3.7 percent. The acceleration comes after four years of economic woes and political strife. GDP grew just 0.2 percent last year. And the head of the government’s National Statistics Institute said this week even those glowing figures were still too low. Farid Matuk said methodology problems meant Peru had been “systematically underestimating” its data for years. Peru is hoping to parlay the good news into closer trade ties when U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans visits next week.

MOVIES, CELLPHONES, SHOPPING

Toledo never tires of telling voters — many of whom are underwhelmed by his progress in creating jobs in a nation where more than half the people live on $1.25 a day — that he has sacrificed his popularity for the sake of economic prudence. The U.S.-trained business school professor, whose approval rating has climbed nearly 10 points recently but is still only around the mid-20s in polls, told reporters this week that rises in the numbers of moviegoers, cellphone users and supermarket sales showed an increasing feelgood factor. “You may ask what (the economy) has got to do with the cinema? Well, if you’ve got a job, you can go to the movies more,” he said. “The economy is becoming more dynamic, people are buying more. It’s slow but things are improving.”

At Peru’s top business forum this week, a partner at a headhunting firm said trade was picking up, and executives said the labor intensive construction sector was in full recovery. But Peru is a country of big contrasts — only one in five people in Lima do their shopping in supermarkets, as opposed to local markets, and the gap between rich and poor still yawns. “The levels of inequality have increased. There is more, but notmore for everyone,” Matuk said. Elmer Cuba, economist at private consultancy Macroconsult, said things were picking up slowly “but we still need stronger and more sustained growth for real salaries to grow, and that process is going to take years.”

Back in Pachacutec, one measure of quality of life is whether residents still have plastic drums outside their homes and have to wait for the water truck to trundle past or whether they can hook up to new standpipes on their dirt streets. Residents said European aid agencies or American evangelists, not the government, had brought the water. But they credit the government — which says it has created 160,000 jobs in state temporary work schemes — with giving them jobs as street cleaners and park builders.

“I feel a bit better. Not that much, but I’m less afraid of where I’m going to get food from than I was before,” said Angelica Azteca, a 28-year-old housewife and mother-of-three, who spends 15 soles ($4.30) a day on food for her family. But others were gloomier. “I feel just the same — it seems my pockets are full of holes. Money goes in and out like water,” said Luz Malaga, 54. “I think Toledo has good intentions, and that he’s trying to do something. But don’t they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions?”

(Additional reporting by Tania Mellado, Eduardo Orozco)
((Lima newsroom, tel: +511 2…
< , fax +511 221 2133, e-mail:
lima.newsroom@reuters.com))

New throughout

Posted in 3 Cables with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2009 by Farid Matuk

By Jude Webber
LIMA, Peru, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Peru’s National Statistics Institute published sector-by-sector production figures for September on Tuesday that analysts said proved Latin  America’s No. 7 economy was growing faster than expected — for now. The government agency, INEI, said in a report production in the manufacturing sector — vital for much-needed jobs growth – rose 7.43 percent in September compared with the same 2001 month, while output in the nation’s traditional mainstays of fisheries and mining grew 18.31 and 2.8 percent respectively. Agriculture output rose 3.69 percent, it said. The agency gave no comparisons for the data. INEI said last month that the gross domestic product data it had been releasing monthly for the past 15 years were faulty, and said the new-look sector-by-sector figures would be the only indication of monthly economic performance until it had corrected its methodology and rebased its index next year. One of the main problems with the old data was how the services sector was calculated, and INEI had planned to strip that out and issue an aggregate figure for the primary and secondary sectors — chiefly mining, fishing and industry – that make up around half the economy.
But in a U-turn on Tuesday, INEI said it had changed its mind on issuing monthly GDP data because it had been impossible to work out an accurate new aggregate methodology in time, and would still issue an old-style September GDP figure next week. One economist at a large bank in Lima, who declined to be named, said the sector-by-sector numbers signaled another month of strong growth for Peru, which the government boasts is a beacon amid the battered economies of Latin America. “This (sector-by-sector data) would have given a September GDP growth number of around 6 percent,” the economist said. Asked if he agreed, INEI’s new chief Farid Matuk told Reuters the 6 percent growth estimate was “totally sensible –(perhaps) half a point up, half a point down.” The Economy Ministry last week forecast September GDP growth of 6.7 percent and 5.3 percent in October. The economist said his own forecast for September was for 5 percent growth.

CAN PERU KEEP IT UP?
Guillermo Arbe, chief analyst at the private Apoyo consultancy, said the figures were upbeat. “We have indicators that show the economy, above all that linked to internal demand, non-primary sectors, is growing …more than we expected … It’s encouraging,” he said. Peru is targeting 2002 growth of 3.7 percent after 0.2 percent last year. But the government admits the economy needs to grow faster yet to translate growth into jobs — Peruvians’ No. 1 concern and one of the reasons why President Alejandro Toledo’s popularity is down to around 20 percent in polls. But asked whether the big growth rates would continue at this clip, the bank economist said: “I think it’s over. We’ll still show growth but it won’t be as high in the last quarter. “A lot of the growth up until now has been because of a statistical bounce. September 2001 was one of the worst months there was,” he said. In September last year, the economy grew 2.7 percent. The economist said the positive effects of tax measures during the year, and of the giant Antamina copper and gold mine which began operations last year and gave the economy a push, were winding up. “I think we should end the year with growth of 3.5 to 4 percent. But next year’s a bit more complicated,” the analyst said. “There will have to be a lot of fiscal belt tightening.”

NEW-LOOK FIGURES NEXT YEAR
Matuk told Reuters the September GDP data would consist of a single figure without a sector-by-sector breakdown, and would be based on the same faulty methodology used for the past 15 years because there was no time to work out a new method. From 2003, INEI will issue a new-style aggregate figure –not the old GDP based on the faulty sums — while it works on improving the math and rebasing the index in order to provide more accurate, quarterly GDP numbers from mid-2003. Another senior INEI official said the agency would release the sector-wide data weekly from now on. INEI gave the following data:

Sectors Sept 2002 Jan-Sept 2002
Agriculture and farming 3.69 5.26
Fisheries 18.31 -2.04
Mining 2.80 14.97
Manufacturing industry 7.43 3.09
– primary industry -1.90 -2.50
– non-primary industry 9.75 4.65
Electricity and water 5.06 5.45
Financial services 9.65 15.57

(Additional reporting by Missy Ryan)
((Lima newsroom, tel
+511 221 2130, fax +511 221 2133, e-mail: lima.newsroom@reuters.com))