(Adds year-to-date figure, breakdown)
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Argentine inflation quickened for the first time in six months in July, leaving consumer prices 16.7 percent higher than at the beginning of the year, official data showed on Friday.
The Consumer Price Index in Latin America’s third biggest economy rose 1.4 percent month-on-month, slightly above a 1.3 percent increase in June.
Transport and communication prices were up 2.6 percent on the previous month, while recreation costs climbed 3.1 percent.
A Reuters poll of seven analysts showed a median forecast of 1.5 percent. Latin America’s No. 3 economy has one of the world’s highest inflation rates.
A currency devaluation in January fueled inflation as Argentine businesses and merchants raised prices to adjust to the new exchange rate.
Private economists say Argentina’s inflation rate may exceed 30 percent in 2014, compared with about 25 percent last year.
Argentina’s government is widely suspected by economists of manipulating official inflation figures since 2007 for political gain as well as to reduce payments on the country’s inflation-indexed debt.
The South American country revamped its consumer price index this year in an effort to win back the trust of investors after years of blatantly under-reporting inflation. (Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Chris Reese and Chizu Nomiyama)