(Bloomberg) -- Peru’s economy contracted for the first time in more than a decade in March, offering an early indication of the devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic on one of Latin America’s biggest success stories.
Economic activity fell 16% from a year earlier, the statistics agency said Friday, as a severe lockdown brought industries from construction to mining to a virtual halt. The median estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 14% drop, with forecasts ranging from declines of 8.5% to 28%.
The government has rolled out the biggest stimulus package in the region to soften what is forecast to be the worst recession in decades. Some sectors were allowed to start a gradual reopening this week to limit the damage of an eight-week shutdown, even as the authorities grapple with the biggest coronavirus outbreak in the Americas after the U.S. and Brazil.
Economic activity fell 3.4% in the first quarter, the biggest drop since 1992. The quarterly gross domestic product will be published next week. Peru has been among the fastest-growing economies in the Americas over the last two decades.
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