Over the past five years, Peru has made great strides in its development. Its achievements include: high growth rates, low inflation, macroeconomic stability, reduction of external debt and poverty and significant advances in social and development indicators, among others.
Prudent macroeconomic policies and a favorable external environment enabled an average GDP growth rate of 6.3 percent between 2002 and 2010. This strong economic performance enabled a continuous recovery of Peru’s income per capita, which increased by more than 50 percent during the decade, after almost 30 years of stagnation.
This stellar growth was temporarily halted by the global economic crisis that affected Peru, as it did practically all countries around the world. Nevertheless, in 2010, Peru experienced a strong recovery and the economy grew at pre-crisis rates.
Inflation has been under strict control with an inflation targeting rule set at 1-3 percent (BCRP). The country embarked on a series of reforms of which fiscal consolidation, trade openness, exchange rate flexibility, financial liberalization, higher reliance on market signals and prudent monetary policy, including strong buildup of reserves, have been key components. Fiscal prudence was further buttressed in recent years by high commodity prices.
In 2010, public debt as a share of GDP was 23.3 percent of GDP, including local government debt. In recognition of the lower risk that Peruvian sovereign debt represents, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch raised their long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating for Peru to 'BBB' from 'BBB-'.
Exports have grown from an average of US$6.3 billion (1998- 2000) to an average of US$28.8 billion (2007-2009), i.e. an increase of almost five times in nominal terms over a single decade. Commodity exports account for more than half of Peru‘s total exports. About 33 percent of Peru‘s exports are destined for China and the European Union and 13 percent to USA. Peru is sensitive to changes in commodity prices and their impact on natural resource revenue, but the country remains relatively less exposed to those revenues than other countries in the region. Deep trade liberalization measures and tariff reductions resulted in a weighted average tariff rate of just 1.2 percent. Peru has negotiated free trade agreements with different trade blocs and countries (e.g., the United States, China, Chile, South Korea, Japan, the European Free Trade Association countries, the European Union, Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica).
Despite these advances, Peru faces many challenges. One of the most crucial is the equitable sharing of these achievements, in other words, promoting more inclusive economic growth. The effects of strong growth have yielded an important decline in poverty rates –about seven million people exited poverty between 2004 and 2010. However, disparities across the country remain high, particularly between rural and urban areas. In 2010, while the national poverty rate was only 30.8 percent, it stood at approximately 61 percent in rural areas.
President Humala assumed office in July 2011, with a vision of maintaining strong economic growth and an emphasis on improving equity. The Government's program aims to provide equal access to basic services, employment and social security; reduce extreme poverty; prevent social conflicts; improve the surveillance of potential environmental damages; and reconnect with rural Peru through an extensive inclusion agenda.
Population, total (millions)
Population growth (annual %)
Surface area (sq. km) (thousands)
Life expectancy at birth, total (years)
Mortality rate, infant (per 1,000 live births)
GNI (current US$) (billions)
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)
Unemployment, total (% of total labor force)
External debt stocks (% of GNI)
Literacy rate, adult female (% of females ages 15 and above)
Literacy rate, adult male (% of males ages 15 and above)
CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita)
Source: World Bank