By Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s annual inflation rate hit 7.96% in April, its highest level in 24 years, as the copper-producing Andean nation grapples with protests over rising food and energy costs linked to a commodities price spike since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The country’s INEI statistics institute said on Sunday that 12-month inflation was at the highest since May 1998. Meanwhile monthly inflation cooled slightly to 0.96% from 1.48% in March, which had been the highest monthly figure in 26 years.

To combat inflation, Peru’s central bank has steadily raised the country’s benchmark interest rate this year, hiking it in early April by 50 basis points to 4.5%, the highest since 2009.

Peru’s government tweaked some projections for 2022 over the weekend, trimming its growth outlook to 3.6% from 4.8%. The country is the world’s second-largest copper producer, though mining firms are being hit by a spate of community protests.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)