(Adds Reuters poll results in paragraph one, month-on-month
decline in paragraph two, mining output in paragraph 5)
LIMA May 15 Peru's economic output
grew 0.71 percent in March compared with the same month a year
earlier, beating expectations in a Reuters poll for a
contraction of 0.5 percent, the government's national production
indicator showed on Monday.
It marked the smallest annual gain since November 2014, the
national statistics institute Inei said. Economic output also
fell 0.4 percent in March, compared with February, the third
straight month-on-month decline.
On Friday, the Economy Ministry said in a statement it was
expecting year-on-year growth of around 0.5 percent in March.
Heavy rainfall and flooding in the country's northern
regions were major factors curbing growth, Inei director Anibal
Sanchez Aguilar said.
The mining sector fell 2.7 percent in March, compared with a
year earlier, due to the unfavorable weather and a three-week
strike at the Andean nation's biggest copper mine,
Freeport-McMoRan Inc's Cerro Verde, he added.
Peru is the world's second-largest copper producer.
Economic output grew 2.08 percent in the first quarter of
2017 compared with the same period last year, Inei added.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen and Teresa Cespedes; Editing by Chizu
Nomiyama and W Simon)