UPDATE 2-Argentina industrial production stumbles in November

Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:09pm EST

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* Output fell again after brief rebound in October

* Industry production down 0.9 pct January-November

BUENOS AIRES Dec 20 (Reuters) - Argentina's industrial production missed market expectations in November, dropping 1.4 percent from a year earlier and shedding 2.1 percent versus October, government data showed on Thursday.

Seven analysts polled by Reuters gave disparate estimates for last month's factory output, ranging from a 1.5 percent year-on-year decline to a 2.8 percent increase. The median was for a rise of 2.0 percent.

Growth in Latin America's No. 3 economy is slowing sharply after booming for most of the last nine years.

Slack Brazilian demand for Argentine autos has been a major drag on industrial output in 2012 although last month automobile production and exports rose, according to private data .

Analysts say factory production has also been hurt by declining investment and domestic demand, along with tough import rules that have delayed the entry of some foreign-made parts.

Industrial production fell 0.9 percent from January through November compared with the same period of 2011, the government said. Output rebounded briefly in October after falling for six straight months prior to that.

In November, year-on-year declines were led by the steel and aluminum sectors, paper and cardboard, and the metallurgical industry. Factory output versus October was pulled down by falling activity in oil refining, editing and printing, and paper and cardboard.

Production in the key auto industry rose 1.2 percent from a year earlier and fell 0.5 percent from October. Argentina sends about 80 percent of its auto exports to Brazil, where economic growth has been stubbornly sluggish this year.

In October, Argentine industrial production rose 2.2 percent from a year earlier, non-seasonally adjusted, and surged 4.7 percent versus September, raising hopes for a more sustained recovery.

In November 2011, industrial output rose 4.0 percent year-on-year.

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