BUENOS AIRES, March 20 Argentina's trade surplus
totaled $44 million in February, the government announced on
Thursday, 91.6 percent tighter than the surplus registered in
the same month last year and far below market expectations.
A recent poll of eight analysts by Reuters had forecast a
median $363 million trade surplus for February.
A healthy trade surplus is crucial for Argentina, which has
been virtually shut out of international credit markets after
its 2002 sovereign bond default.
But confidence in Latin America's No. 3 economy has been
wrecked by tumbling central bank reserves, a wobbly currency,
one of the world's highest inflation rates and a gnarl of
currency controls that has choked off access to dollars.
(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein, editing by G Crosse)