Peru´s economic activity sank 40.49% year-on-year in April, its worst-ever percentage drop in output, as a national lockdown to combat the coronavirus slammed the brakes on industry across the country, the government said.
Key industries such as mining, fishing, construction and manufacturing all plunged in April, statistics agency INEI said in its monthly economic activity report. Since January, Peru´s economy has shriveled by 13.10%, INEI said.
The world´s No. 2 copper producer was among the first in Latin America to impose draconian lockdown measures to slow the advance of the coronavirus. Many of the country´s sprawling mines drastically scaled back output amid the outbreak, ravaging the economy.
The mining and hydrocarbons sector, which represents 60% of the country´s total exports, fell 42.29% in April versus the previous year. Output of copper, gold, zinc and silver all plummeted, according to the statistics agency report.
The government in May allowed the country´s mines to resume larger-scale operation, and some recovery is expected following the dismal output figures in April.
Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra told reporters that the still-raging coronavirus epidemic and dire economic news represented the “most serious crisis in our history.”
Vizcarra said he would push for a massive public works program that would create more than a million jobs. The government has already promised a wide-ranging stimulus package worth nearly 17% of gross domestic product.
Job losses spiked in Peru as industry has stagnated, according to INEI. Unemployment between March and May in Peru doubled to 13.1% of the working-age population versus the same period last year, INEI said. In the capital, Lima, alone, about 2.3 million people lost their jobs, statistics show.
Peru had reported 237,156 coronavirus cases as of Tuesday and more than 7,000 deaths.