Argentina's Jan trade surplus widens to $1.16 billion
By: Hilary Burke and Walter Bianchi
The figure confirmed the number announced by President Cristina Fernandez last week.
Argentina's exports surged 67 percent in January to $5.64 billion, while imports jumped 52 percent year-on-year to $4.48 billion.
Export growth was driven by increased shipments of grains, vegetable oils and fats, and food-industry byproducts, while imports were dominated by intermediate and capital goods, the INDEC statistics office said in a statement.
"Last month's surplus benefited from record-high commodity prices, which more than offset an acceleration in imports," JPMorgan said in a report on Friday. "Following January's improvement, the trade surplus has now fully reversed last year's deterioration."
Latin America's No. 3 economy saw its trade surplus narrow to $11.15 billion in 2007, reaching its lowest level since 2001 as robust economic growth fueled more imports.
A Reuters poll of five local analysts had yielded a median forecast of $550 million for the January trade surplus, while a central bank poll BCRA30 put the figure at a median of $599 million.
In January, Argentina's automotive exports jumped 107 percent, according to the private Association of Automobile Manufacturers.