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Argentina inflation to end 2016 higher than expected -official

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Argentina’s annual inflation rate will be between 35 percent and 36 percent this year, a government official said on Tuesday, higher than an earlier government estimate but below economists’ estimates last month for inflation above 40 percent.

Deputy cabinet chief Mario Quintana said in a radio interview that expectations for inflation of about 40 percent in 2016 were false and that inflation would end the year “well below that.”

The central bank is expected to release the results of its new monthly economists survey on growth and inflation later on Tuesday. Analysts in last month’s poll said they expect inflation of 41 percent this year and 19.8 percent in 2017 in greater Buenos Aires, which is used as a proxy for national inflation.

One month after taking office in December, center-right President Mauricio Macri’s administration said that it hoped to end 2016 with inflation between 20 percent and 25 percent.

Macri ordered the statistics agency closed in order to revamp data collection methods that were widely discredited under former President Cristina Fernandez.

The statistics agency resumed publishing inflation data for greater Buenos Aires in May but has not released its calculations from January through April nor published annualized inflation data.

Inflation is initially thought to have increased under Macri after his government lifted capital controls and ended some subsidies. Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay said in June the annualized rate of inflation through May was likely 40 percent to 42 percent, although he said it would start falling in June.

The central bank, under a new chief appointed by Macri, has adapted a formal inflation targeting scheme and expects inflation of between 12 percent and 17 percent in 2017 and 8 percent to 12 percent in 2018.

Earlier Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund said 2017 inflation in Argentina would total 23.2 percent, higher than the government’s 17 percent expectation. The IMF visited Argentina for the first time in 10 years last week and praised Macri’s program of market-friendly reforms. (Reporting by Maximiliano Rizzi; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Bill Trott)