UPDATE 1-Argentine trade surplus shrinks sharply for 2nd month

martes 25 de noviembre de 2014 16:18 GYT

(Adds breakdown for exports, imports)

BUENOS AIRES Nov 25 (Reuters) - Argentine imports slid in October in tighter trade restrictions but exports plunged even further, driving the second consecutive sharp contraction in the trade surplus that the South American country relies on for dollar supplies.

Imports dropped 14 percent, while exports dropped 16 percent, official data showed on Tuesday, underscoring economic weakness both in the domestic economy and abroad.

The trade surplus narrowed 39.2 percent in October from the same month a year earlier to $361 million, missing by far even the lowest forecast in a Reuters poll.

The median forecast in a Reuters poll of five analysts was for a surplus of $800 million, with estimates ranging from $609 million to $850 million.

The trade surplus is now down 15 percent in the first 10 months of 2014 compared with the same period last year.

Given Argentina's banishment from global credit markets, Cristina Fernandez's government relies on the surplus to boost dollar supplies on the tightly controlled currency market.

Foreign reserves fell to eight-year lows earlier this year although they have recouped slightly over the past month.

The government has tightened import restrictions in the past few months despite protests from manufacturers, especially automakers reliant on parts from abroad.

The import of parts for capital goods fell 37 percent in October on the year, and were down 21 percent in the first ten months of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013. (Reporting By Sarah Marsh; Editing by Richard Lough and Chris Reese)