Venezuela’s economy grows at 5.6% during first quarter of 2012


CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s economy grew 5.6 percent during the first three months of the year, continuing expansion that began at the end of 2010, the country’s planning minister said Thursday.

Jorge Giordani said economic expansion from January through March was largely driven by 29.6 percent growth in the construction industry as the government funneled billions of dollars into a nationwide initiative to build hundreds of thousands of apartments for the poor.

The telecommunications industry grew by 7 percent.

Giordani suggested the economy could grow by as much as 7 percent this year, beating the government’s initial expectations of 5 percent growth for 2012.