UPDATE 1-Argentina says October inflation slows to 0.8 percent

Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:43pm EST

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* Government says 12-month inflation 10.2 pct

* Private estimates closer to 25 percent

BUENOS AIRES Nov 14 (Reuters) - Argentina's official inflation rate was 0.8 percent in October, cooling slightly from September's 0.9 percent, the government said on Wednesday.

The country's official inflation figures, however, are widely disputed by private economists. The median estimate of six analysts polled by Reuters was a 2.0 percent increase in consumer prices.

Growth in Argentina, Latin America's No. 3 economy, slowed quickly this year after reaching 8.9 percent in 2011. But inflation remains persistently high with private estimates hovering near 25 percent a year.

The INDEC national statistics institute said October's consumer inflation was driven by a 2.2 percent increase in the price of clothing and a 1.4 percent rise in the cost of household goods and equipment.

Prices in the heavily weighted food-and-beverage category rose 0.9 percent last month.

Inflation in the 12 months through October totaled 10.2 percent, INDEC said.

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