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BUENOS AIRES, March 25 (Reuters) - Argentina's trade surplus widened 20.5 percent in February to $53 million versus a year ago, official data showed on Wednesday, coming in below expectations as both imports and exports slid 25 percent.
The median forecast in a Reuters poll of seven analysts was for a surplus of $65 million.
President Cristina Fernandez's government relies on the surplus to boost dollar supplies on the tightly controlled currency market.
In order to secure that surplus, it has tightened import restrictions in the past few months despite protests from manufacturers, especially automakers reliant on parts from abroad. (Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Diane Craft)