Argentina's industrial production started the year with a modest improvement rising 0.2% in January from a year earlier after output shrank 1.2% in 2012 as a whole, government data showed. Factory output rose 0.6% in January compared with December, seasonally adjusted.
In the crucial automobile industry, which suffered the impact of slowed Brazilian demand last year, production rose 5.3% versus January 2012.
However output fell 36.1% over December 2012 probably as a result of planned maintenance stoppages during the peak summer month.
In December, Argentine industrial production dropped 3.4% from a year earlier in non-seasonally adjusted terms, and dipped 0.6% versus November. Industrial output fell in 2012, marking the first decline since the economic crisis a decade earlier.
This stemmed in part from a downturn in the auto industry, although tough import rules also played a role by delaying the entry of some foreign-made parts and currency controls hurt investment.
Growth in Latin America's No. 3 economy slowed sharply in 2012 after booming during most of the previous nine years.