(Adds central bank expectations, central bank goal, background on Argentina inflation)
BUENOS AIRES, June 8 (Reuters) - Argentina’s 12-month inflation through May was 24 percent, the country’s statistics agency said on Thursday, down from 27.5 percent in April and lower than the 25 percent that Central Bank chief Federico Sturzenegger said he expected earlier this week.
May inflation was 1.3 percent, half the 2.6 percent rate in April and beating median expectations in a Reuters poll for a rise of 1.7 percent. It was the lowest monthly increase in consumer prices since January, when prices also rose 1.3 percent.
Sturzenegger had said that February, March and April would be “delicate” months in terms of inflation due to hikes in regulated utility prices as the government lifts subsidies. He said on Tuesday that 12-month inflation would fall to 21 percent or 22 percent by July.
The central bank is targeting inflation between 12 and 17 percent this year, though economists see it at 21.6 percent. Consumer prices have risen a cumulative 10.5 percent in the first five months of 2017. (Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Leslie Adler)