BUENOS AIRES Aug 21 Argentina's trade surplus
shrank by 40 percent in July from a year earlier as surging fuel
and auto imports increased pressure on the government's system
of currency controls.
July's trade surplus fell to $770 million from
$1.277 billion a year earlier, the government statistics
institute said on Wednesday. The surplus fell short of the
median forecast in a Reuters poll for a surplus of $1.1 billion.
Imports rose 11 percent from a year earlier, boosted by
shipments of buses from Brazil, trains from China and diesel oil
from Russia and the United States. Exports edged up just 2
percent due to plunging oil and gas exports and stagnant
The trade surplus for the first seven months of the year
shrank by 28 percent from the same period of 2012. That is bad
news for the government, which relies on the surplus to boost
dollar supplies on the tightly controlled currency market.
The government repays debts to private creditors using the
central bank's foreign currency reserves. The country has been
effectively shut out of global credit markets since its massive
2002 sovereign debt default.
Argentina's current account, the country's broadest measure
of foreign transactions including trade, profit remittances,
interest payments and other items, started the year with its
deepest quarterly deficit since early 2001.
The Argentine peso weakened 0.8 percent on the parallel
market to 9.00 per dollar on Wednesday, flirting with a
three-month weakpoint. The official exchange rate weakened 0.1
percent to 5.60 per dollar, part of a policy of gradual peso
depreciation that has diverged increasingly from the informal