LIMA May 10 Peru's poverty rate dipped by 1.1
percentage points in 2016 to 20.7 percent, government data
showed on Wednesday, in line with modest declines seen the prior
two years after several years of sharp poverty reduction.
Some 264,000 Peruvians left poverty last year, more than the
221,000 who emerged from poverty in 2015 but less than the
289,000 in 2014, in the first test of President Pedro Pablo
Kuczynski's ambitious pledge to cut poverty in half by the end
of his term in 2021.
State statistics agency Inei defines poverty as the
inability to purchase a basket of goods that would satisfy basic
needs. Nearly 1.2 million Peruvians, or 3.8 percent of the
population, were in a condition of extreme poverty in 2016,
defined as the inability to purchase a basic basket of food and
More than half of Peruvians were poor at the start of the
century, but a mining boom led to swift declines in the poverty
rate in the world's No. 2 copper producer. Since 2014, however,
poverty reduction has slowed as lower commodity prices hurt one
of Latin America's fastest-growing economies.
"The speed of poverty reduction has been lower and lower,"
said Inei chief Anibal Sanchez Aguilar, though he noted that the
poor were, on average, closer to the poverty line in 2016 than
in 2015. "The poor, despite not having exited poverty, have
improved their level of consumption."
Poverty fell more in rural areas than urban areas in 2016,
though the divide remains high with 43.8 percent of rural
dwellers in poverty, compared with 13.9 percent of urban
Poverty dropped 1 percentage point in 2015 and 1.2
percentage points in 2014.
Kuczynski, a former investment banker, took office last July
pledging to restore annual growth to 5 percent with new
infrastructure projects and lower taxes. He has said he wanted
the poverty rate to be no more than 10 percent at the end of his
The government now expects a lower growth of 3 percent this
year due to devastating floods and a graft scandal that has
paralyzed public works.
Inei advisor Javier Herrera said it was too early to measure
the impact the floods -- which killed more than a hundred people
and damaged thousands of homes -- would have on the poverty
rate, but noted that for many, the floods damaged "the means of
production that allow them to increase their incomes."
(Reporting by Luc Cohen and Teresa Cespedes; Editing by Sandra