UPDATE 2-Argentina inflation data for July signals pace of inflation slowing

viernes 12 de agosto de 2016 18:00 GYT

(Recasts; adds analyst comment, economic context, byline)

By Hugh Bronstein

BUENOS AIRES Aug 12 (Reuters) - Argentina's inflation rate eased to 2.0 percent in July, less than half of what it was two months before when the government began reporting consumer price data after revamping the country's troubled statistics office.

The July figure was released on Friday by the new Indec data agency. A month earlier it reported 3.1 percent inflation for June and 4.2 percent for May when it issued its first consumer price report since President Mauricio Macri took office in December.

He had campaigned on promises of lifting currency controls and jump-starting foreign investment, in part by improving transparency at Indec. The agency had been widely accused of fudging official statistics to make the economy look stronger than it actually was under former president Cristina Fernandez.

The July inflation number came as good news to the market, which had expected a rate of 2.4 percent, according to the median forecast given in a Reuters poll of analysts.

"There been an important fall in inflation," said Hernan Hirsch of the local consultancy FyE Consult. He attributed this to the central bank's counter-cyclical monetary policy and the peso being kept stable at about 14.6 per dollar.

The Macri government has not yet released annualized consumer price data or an economic growth forecast for this year.

Hirsch said Indec's monthly inflation numbers look accurate and that Macri appears on his way to keeping his promise of ending 2016 with an inflation rate of under 2 percent per month. Hirsch said he expects consumer prices to rise by an average 1.6 percent to 1.7 percent per month in the last quarter of the year.   Continuación...