UPDATE 1-Argentina industrial output rises for first time in 20 months

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BUENOS AIRES, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Argentina’s industrial output rose 1.2% in December versus the same month a year earlier, the government statistics agency said on Wednesday, returning to positive territory for the first time in 20 months as the country grapples with recession.

It was the first monthly rise in the South American country since April 2018, amid a series of currency and debt crises that have sapped the economy and hit industries from apparel to automobiles and wine production.

Peronist President Alberto Fernandez, who took office in December, is racing to restructure around $100 billion in sovereign debt payments, which the government says it cannot currently pay without reviving growth.

Reporting by Cassandra Garrison Editing by Leslie Adler