(Adds details from report, background on Argentine economy)
BUENOS AIRES, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Argentina's economic activity rose 1.6 percent in December compared with the previous month, government data showed on Friday, a sign the economy likely expanded in the fourth quarter after a long recession.
Median expectations in a Reuters poll were for a year-on-year drop of 0.6 percent in December. The economy fell 0.1 percent in December year over year and closed 2016 down 2.3 percent compared with 2015.
That ended a difficult year for the Argentina as President Mauricio Macri enacted a number of market-friendly reforms aimed at liberalizing the economy and encouraging investment, which in the short-term contributed to rampant inflation.
The month-on-month rise in December shows the economy likely began a rebound in the fourth quarter of 2016 after four straight quarters of declines. Government statistics agency INDEC will publish fourth quarter GDP data next month.
Economic activity rose 1.2 percent month-on-month in November and was flat in October, Indec said in its Friday report, both downward revisions from its estimates last month. (Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Chris Reese and Cynthia Osterman)