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    Peru Essay

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    PeruPeru’s gross domestic product in the late 1980s was $19. 6 billion, orabout $920 per capita. Although the economy remains primarily agricultural, themining and fishing industries have become increasingly important. Peru reliesprimarily on the export of raw materialschiefly minerals, farm products, andfish mealto earn foreign exchange for importing machinery and manufacturedgoods. During the late 1980s, guerrilla violence, rampant inflation, chronicbudget deficits, and drought combined to drive the country to the brink offiscal insolvency.

    However, in 1990 the government imposed an austerity programthat removed price controls and ended subsidies on many basic items and allowedthe inti, the national currency, to float against the United States dollar. About 35 percent of Peru’s working population is engaged in farming. Most of the coastal area is devoted to the raising of export crops; on the montana and the sierra are mainly grown crops for local consumption. Many farms inPeru are very small and are used to produce subsistence crops; the country alsohas large cooperative farms. The chief agricultural products, together with theapproximate annual yield (in metric tons) in the late 1980s, were sugarcane (6.

    2million), potatoes (2 million), rice (1. 1 million), corn (880,000), seed cotton(280,000), coffee (103,000), and wheat (134,000). Peru is the world’s leadinggrower of coca, from which the drug cocaine is refined. The livestock population included about 3.

    9 million cattle, 13. 3 millionsheep, 1. 7 million goats, 2. 4 million hogs, 875,000 horses and mules, and 52million poultry. Llamas, sheep, and vicunas provide wool, hides, and skins.

    The forests covering 54 percent of Peru’s land area have not beensignificantly exploited. Forest products include balsa lumber and balata gum,rubber, and a variety of medicinal plants. Notable among the latter is thecinchona plant, from which quinine is derived. The annual roundwood harvest inthe late 1980s was 7.

    7 million cu m. The fishing industry is extremely important to the country’s economy andaccounts for a significant portion of Peru’s exports. It underwent a remarkableexpansion after World War II (1939-1945); the catch in the late 1980s was about5. 6 million metric tons annually. More than three-fifths of the catch isanchovies, used for making fish meal, a product in which Peru leads the world. The extractive industries figure significantly in the Peruvian economy.

    Peru ranks as one of the world’s leading producers of copper, silver, lead, andzinc; petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, molybdenum, tungsten, and gold areextracted in significant quantities. Annual production in the late 1980sincluded 3. 3 million metric tons of iron ore; 406,400 metric tons of copper;2054 metric tons of silver; 203,950 metric tons of lead; and 612,500 metric tonsof zinc. About 64. 9 million barrels of crude petroleum were produced, along with578. 3 million cu m of natural gas.

    Much manufacturing in Peru is on a small scale, but a number of modernindustries have been established since the 1950s along the Pacific coast. Traditional goods include textiles, clothing, food products, and handicrafts. Items produced in large modern plants include steel, refined petroleum,chemicals, processed minerals, motor vehicles, and fish meal. In the late 1980s Peru had an installed electricity-generating capacityof approximately 3. 7 million kw, and annual output was approximately 14. 2billion kwh.

    About three-quarters of the total electricity produced wasgenerated in hydroelectric facilities. The unit of currency in Peru is the inti, divided into 100 centimos;after being allowed to float against the U. S. dollar, the inti fluctuated wildlyat between 200,000 and 400,000 to the dollar in mid-1990. The Banco Central deReserva del Peru (1922) is the central bank and bank of issue. All privatedomestic banks were nationalized in 1987.

    Exports are more diversified in Peruthan in most South American countries. The principal exports are petroleum,copper, lead, coffee, silver, fish meal, zinc, sugar, and iron ore. The chiefexport markets are the United States, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy,and Great Britain. Exports earned about $2.

    7 billion annually in the late 1980s. The leading imports of Peru include electrical and electronic items, foodstuffs,metals, chemicals, and transportation equipment. The principal sources of thesegoods are the United States, Japan, Argentina, Germany, and Brazil. Imports costabout $2. 8 billion annually in the late 1980s. Peru’s system of railroads, highways, and airports has been expandedconsiderably since World War II.

    The country’s mountains make surface transportdifficult, however. In the late 1980s Peru had about 69,940 km (about 43,460 mi)of roads, of which 11 percent were paved. The main artery is a section of thePan-American Highway, which traverses Peru from Ecuador to Chile, covering adistance of about 2495 km (about 1550 mi). The Trans-Andean Highway links Limaand Pucallpa. Peru also has about 2400 km (about 1490 mi) of railroads. Onetrans-Andean line, the Callao-Huancayo, ascends to some 4815 m (some 15,800 ft)above sea level, the highest point reached by any standard-gauge line in theworld.

    The most notable inland waterway is the Amazon River, which is navigableby ship from the Atlantic Ocean to Iquitos in Peru. Lake Titicaca also serves asa waterway. Leading Peruvian seaports include Callao, Salaverry, Pacasmayo,Paita, and San Juan. The country’s main international airports are situated nearLima, Cuzco, Iquitos, and Arequipa.

    Aeroperu, the national airline, offersdomestic and international service. Peru’s telephone system, which was nationalized in 1970, has some600,000 instruments. The country is served by more than 300 radio stations and 8television stations. In the late 1980s about 4 million radios and 1.

    6 milliontelevision receivers were in use. In the same period the country had more than70 daily newspapers. Dailies with large circulations included El Comercio,Expreso, Ojo, and La Republica, all published in Lima.

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