Argentina's industrial output slid a steeper-than-expected 13.4% in March compared with the same month last year, the government's Indec statistics agency said on Monday, as the recession-hit economy struggles to return to growth.
The fall in output, an early indicator of growth data, was the 11th straight month of declines since the middle of last year when South America's No. 2 economy was hit by a debt crisis, steep inflation and a tumbling peso currency.
The country's economy has remained sluggish, however, despite hopes that growth would start to turn around as the year progressed, with high interest rates and stubborn inflation sapping economic activity.
Goldman Sachs analyst Alberto Ramos said in a note following the data that political uncertainty, weakening consumer sentiment and tight domestic financial conditions were damaging any green shoots of economic recovery.
Even higher inflation and a deeper and longer recession are political liabilities for an incumbent facing voters whose top concerns are precisely inflation and growth/employment, he said, adding prices would keep rising fast for now.
Inflation is running at an annual rate of close to 55%, hitting savings, while job losses are starting to mount, with employment down by around 250,000 jobs over the last year, according to data released last month.
Industrial output dropped 8.5% in February after falls of 10.8% in January and 14.7% the month before.