UPDATE 1-Import controls drive slide in Argentine industrial output

martes 30 de septiembre de 2014 17:12 GYT

(Adds economist comment, background)

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Argentine industrial output shrank in August as stricter import restrictions in the first month after the country's debt default hit manufacturers reliant on parts from abroad and recession in Brazil hurt demand for automobiles.

Output in Latin America's No. 3 economy shrank 2.9 percent in August on the year in non-seasonally adjusted terms, the Economy Ministry said on Tuesday, marking the 13th consecutive monthly decline.

The reading came in well below the median forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts for a 1.5 percent drop.

Argentina has tightened trade controls since it defaulted on its debt in July and is restricting the amount of dollars available to importers in an attempt to protect its already thin foreign reserves.

The default will prolong its banishment from global capital markets, leaving the government heavily dependent on its trade surplus for a source of dollars.

"Import restrictions have had the biggest impact on output in August and probably will do in September," said Martin Vauthier at local consultancy Bein & Asociados, noting automakers in particular were reliant on parts from Brazil.

"If Argentina doesn't get access to dollars, it will not be able to finance its current level of industrial activity."

Central bank reserves, which have dropped 8.7 percent this year and 35.4 percent since the start of 2013, fell to $27.9 billion on Monday, the lowest level since the end of April.   Continuación...