(Adds details from report, context on Argentina economy.)
BUENOS AIRES, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Argentina's industrial production contracted 7.3 percent in September compared with a year ago, the national statistics agency, Indec, said on Monday, marking the recession-hit country's eighth straight month of shrinking output.
The fall was sharper than the 5.7 percent year-over-year drop in August, and the second-biggest contraction this year after a 7.9 percent decline in July. The drops have grown larger since a 0.1 percent year-on-year decline in February.
Cumulatively, the South American country's industrial output for the first nine months of 2016 has fallen 4.6 percent compared with the same period last year. The government expects a return to monthly industrial output growth by the end of this year, an official told Reuters last month.
Indec said base metals production fell 23.1 percent in September versus the same month of last year, with steel production down 27.8 percent. The automobile industry's output fell 22.5 percent, Indec said. (Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Bernard Orr and Dan Grebler)