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Argentina’s Economy Grew 0.7% in Third Quarter From Year Ago

Argentina’s economy grew 0.7 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, less than forecast by analysts and after stalling in the previous three months.

The median estimate of 11 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for growth of 1.4 percent. South America’s second-biggest economy expanded 0.6 percent from the second quarter, the national statistics agency reported today in Buenos Aires.

The economy returned to growth in the third quarter after grinding to a standstill in the previous three months, when the global crisis and weaker demand from neighboring Brazil led to a drop in industrial output. The economy also suffered from a drought in some agriculture areas and floods in others.

The government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner forecasts growth of 3.3 percent this year and 4.4 percent in 2013, according to next year’s budget law. The World Bank sees the economy growing 2.2 percent in 2012, compared with 8.9 percent in 2011.

The peso, whose rate is managed by the central bank, has weakened 12.3 percent this year, the most of any currency in the region. In the unregulated market, in which investors buy assets locally in pesos and sell them abroad for dollars, the peso has dropped 29 percent.

Argentinaa’s trade surplus widened 74 percent in November from a year earlier to $634 million after the government tightened import restrictions, the statistics agency also reported today. The country posted a current account surplus of $1.13 billion in the third quarter, compared with a deficit of $214 million the year earlier.

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