UPDATE 3-Argentina finmin sees inflation slowing, says growth depends on Brazil
(Recasts; adds quotes, byline, Argentine markets))
By Dion Rabouin
NEW YORK, June 24 (Reuters) - Argentina's annualized rate of inflation was likely 40 percent to 42 percent through May, but should begin slowing in June with a return to growth also on the horizon, Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay said on Friday.
Prat-Gay, who was appointed by President Mauricio Macri, said in an address to investors in New York that the government was "very confident in the second half of the year."
"Inflation will fall, the economy will bloom," he said.
A proponent of free markets, Macri was inaugurated in December and moved quickly to begin dismantling the economic controls favored by his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez.
Inflation in the country was propelled higher when Macri lifted currency controls, allowing the Argentine peso to devalue by 30 percent.
"We think the dirty work is mostly done," Prat-Gay said, calling Macri "very brave" to spend his political capital with unpopular economic austerity measures.
Monthly consumer prices rose 4.2 percent in May, the Indec statistics agency said last week, and Prat-Gay said inflation would slow to 2 percent to 2.5 percent in June. Continuación...