(Adds background on economy, sectors’ performance details)
BUENOS AIRES, May 31 (Reuters) - Argentina’s industrial production fell 2.3 percent in April from the same month a year earlier, national statistics agency Indec said on Wednesday, marking the 15th straight month of shrinking output.
The figure was well below median expectations in a Reuters poll for a year-over-year increase of 1.3 percent. The South American country’s economy has returned to growth after a deep recession last year, but the manufacturing sector has remained weak.
The steel and cement sectors grew 15.1 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively, in a sign that the government’s public works push and improving construction activity are driving demand for certain industrial raw materials.
But they were outweighed by a 7.5 percent drop in the automobile industry, which has fallen for three straight months after starting off the year strong, and a 24.7 percent drop in the beleaguered textile industry. (Reporting by Luc Cohen; editing by Diane Craft and Dan Grebler)