WRAPUP 1-Argentina March industry output jumps, trade narrows

* Industrial output climbs 10.6 percent in March

* Trade surplus narrows by 77 percent year-on-year

By Kevin Gray

BUENOS AIRES, April 23 (BestGrowthStock) – Argentine industrial
output outstripped market expectations in March, powered by an
increase in auto production, the latest sign a rebound is
gathering steam in Latin America’s No. 3 economy.

Also, Argentina’s trade surplus narrowed sharply in March,
government statistics showed, falling 77 percent as imports
rose.

Industrial output grew 10.6 percent during the month
compared with March 2009, Argentina’s national statistics
office said on Friday. The median forecast in a Reuters poll
was for a 6.5 percent increase in output year-on-year.

The March figure confirmed a number given earlier this week
by President Cristina Fernandez.

Argentine auto production rose 26.6 percent in March versus
the same month last year, and nonmetallic mineral output
climbed 10.3 percent.

The trade surplus shrank to $311 million in March, down
from $1.37 billion a year ago.

Exports rose 11 percent percent to $4.71 billion during the
month, boosted by vehicle sales, while imports jumped 52
percent to $4.40 billion.

Argentina is a leading global agricultural exporter and
ranks as the world’s No. 3 soy exporter and the top world
supplier of soyoil and meal.

The national statistics agency INDEC said grains exports in
March were hurt significantly by a strike by port workers that
slowed shipments abroad.

Last month, Argentine port workers blocked shipments at one
of Argentina’s main grains ports for more than a week,
demanding a salary increase.
(Additional reporting by Juliana Castilla and Helen Popper;
Editing by Kenneth Barry)

WRAPUP 1-Argentina March industry output jumps, trade narrows