January 11, 2017 / 7:42 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Argentina inflation slows to 1.2 percent in December

(Adds details on target, expectations, methodology)

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Consumer prices in greater Buenos Aires rose 1.2 percent in December over the previous month, Argentina’s official Indec statistics agency said on Wednesday, a drop from the prior two months that marked a move closer to the central bank’s target.

Consumer prices rose 2.4 percent in October and 1.6 percent in November, resulting in average monthly inflation of 1.7 percent for the fourth quarter of 2016. The central bank had been targeting average monthly inflation of 1.5 percent for the final three months of 2016.

Argentina does not publish countrywide inflation data, but consumer prices for the greater Buenos Aires area are used as a proxy. President Mauricio Macri revamped Indec after taking office in late 2016 due to widespread allegations of data manipulation by the previous administration.

Indec resumed publishing inflation data in June. The government did not publish an annual figure on Wednesday. Private economists see 2016 annual inflation at 40 percent, though they expect it to drop to 21 percent this year.

The projection is above both the central bank’s target inflation range of 12 percent to 17 percent in 2017 and the official government expectation of 17 percent. (Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Leslie Adler)

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