UPDATE 1-Curbing inflation is top priority for Argentina -finance minister
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By Daniel Bases and Jason Lange
WASHINGTON, April 14 (Reuters) - Argentina's government is targeting an inflation rate no higher than 25 percent this year and is making the battle against rising prices its top priority, Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay said on Thursday.
Prat-Gay, speaking at an event on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington, said the country's new right-of-center government is aiming for inflation to be between 20 and 25 percent.
"We've got a target and we've been clear about that target. And that target is a ceiling of 25 percent for this year. And it is a band of 20 to 25 percent," Prat-Gay said during an appearance at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington.
"The question is what is the inflation measure we should look at? There is no official national measure and there won't be an official CPI index at least until next year," he said.
Prat-Gay said Argentina's double-digit inflation rate should start showing signs of easing in the second half of the year, though he added that it would take time for it to come down to a more manageable level.
Private economists expect consumer prices will rise 35 percent this year, but Prat-Gay said the country's new right-of-center government hoped to reduce inflation to 17 percent in 2017.
Reigning in inflation is the top priority for the government after the initial "tidying up" of other issues such as the recently negotiated deal to settle a long-festering sovereign debt dispute with U.S. holdout creditors, he said. Continuación...