BUENOS AIRES — Ad spending on cable TV in Argentina, the most-cabled market in Latin America, surged 90% in the first quarter of 2003 from a year earlier, a sign that the recovering economy is luring advertisers back after a deplorable 2002.

Ad outlays on feevees Fox Sports, MTV and Sony Entertainment Television shot up to 34.5 million pesos ($12 million) in the first quarter from $6.3 million last year, according to the Argentine Bureau of Cable and Internet Advertising (BPCI).

The number of ad seconds rose 71% to 8.7 million from 5.1 million, according to the industry body, whose members account for 90% of cable programming in the country.

Meanwhile, the country’s first state-run cable TV channel will bow in Buenos Aires in July. Ciudad Abierta (Open City) will promote music, theater and other events in the capital, as well as offering weather and traffic alerts.

The city government has exercised free carriage rights with cablers, something that officials negotiated in the 1990s in return for permission to lay cables.