Bruno Seminario from the Universidad del Pacifico is perhaps Peru’s deepest thinker about growth patterns, having pioneered the study of growth over the duration of the republic. According to him, the government’s revised growth forecast for 2019 is still overly optimistic.
He sees GDP growing at somewhere between 3% and 3.5% whereas the Ministry of Economy and Finance recently reduced its forecast to 3.7% from 4.2%. Seminario says it is hard to imagine a return to growth of 4% before 2021 at the earliest.
He points to the depressed condition of the manufacturing sector which goes back four years and the more recent downturn in mining output. Between them, these are the most important parts of the economy for the generation of employment. Michiquillay apart, there is little to suggest an upturn in mining in the foreseeable future while manufacturing continues to suffer from competition from Chinese imports.
Seminario points to continued problems with the reconstruction programme (following the coastal flooding of two years ago) which are down to the inability of local administrations to spend the money available to them.
He says that it takes 4-5% annual growth to reduce levels of poverty, while the problem of unemployment has been greatly magnified by the scale of Venezuelan immigration. He maintains that the government underestimates the problem of unemployment by choosing to look at the SUNAT (tax authority) figures rather than those produced by the national statistics institute, INEI.