"You need to know when to act, and when to stay put," says Julio Velarde, Peru's central bank president. "As soon as a problem arises, many people think you need to respond immediately, when many times the panorama is not even very dear." It's just one of the many lessons Velarde--considered one of Peru's best economic helmsmen--has learned during more than twenty years in and out of government posts, many spent managing his country's monetary policies.
Indeed, Velarde's ability to know when, and more importantly, how to act during some of Peru's most economically and politically challenging rimes are among the qualities that have earned him the admiration of local and foreign business leaders, not to mention rating agencies and investors.
Although Velar&, 60, has held posts in the private and public sector--he has served on the Central Bank's board of directors twice and was once chairman of the Latin American Reserve Fund--business leaders say there's one trait that has remained constant: his unfaltering commitment to maintaining macroeconomic stability and moderate economic policies.
Velarde's reputation in the business community is such that the day he was reappointed Central Bank president by the recently-elected President Ollanta Humala last year, Lima's stock market rose nearly 5 percent (as the world's main stock markets dropped) and Peru's country risk indicator dropped from 185 to 176 basis points.
Business leaders concur that Velarde's reappointment to head the Central Bank by Humala (Velar& was first named to the post in September 2006 by President Alan Garcia) helped ease tensions among investors who were worried about the likelihood of a radical change in the country's economic policies, which were helping to fuel spectacular growth.
As Velarde himself notes: "The growth (rate) we have reached over the past decade is an achievement that I believe no president wanted to put at risk."
Peru's presidential elections last year took place six months after the country had posted GDP growth of almost 9 percent for 2010. In 2011, the country's GDP rose almost 7 percent, and this year it is expected to grow 5.5 percent, which would mark a slight slowdown but is still high when compared to other economies around the world.
Velarde's management of Perus economy during the global financial crisis of 2008 and during the turbulent term of President Alberto Fujimori in the early 1990s, helped catapult him into the...