Peru economy grew 4.8 pct in January from same month last year

LIMA, March 15 (Reuters) - Peru's economy grew by a better-than-expected 4.8 percent in January from the same month a year earlier due to mining and manufacturing activity, the quickest monthly expansion in five months, state statistics agency Inei said Wednesday. A Reuters poll had forecast January growth at 4.5 percent. Inei said that the annualized growth rate quickened slightly to 4 percent but that the economy contracted at a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.1 percent in January from December. January growth was driven by a 14 percent expansion in mining, a 5 percent growth in manufacturing and a surge of fishing. However, the construction sector continued to contract amid a graft scandal that has stalled public work projects. Peru is the world's second biggest copper producer and its economy has gradually recovered from a sharp slowdown in 2014 thanks to production from new and expanded copper mines. However, an inquiry into bribes distributed by Brazilian construction company Odebrecht has stalled public work projects and prompted the government to cut its 2017 growth forecast by one percentage point to 3.8 percent.