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333564

Argentina inflation, heading towards 100%, seen easing back from July peak

By Hernan Nessi

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Argentina's inflation rate, heading towards 100% this year, likely eased in August versus a 20-year peak the month before, analysts polled by Reuters said, bringing some hope sharp price rises could start to be tempered.

A survey of 21 analysts gave a median forecast of a still very high 6.6% rise for the month, lower than the 7.4% spike in July. The estimates ranged from 6.0% to 7.4%.

"The data for August, although still unusually high, has erased worries about an inflationary spiral," said Lautaro Moschet, economist at Libertad y Progreso.

Argentina, a major soy, corn and wheat exporter, has targets to bring down inflation as part of a $44 billion deal with the International Monetary Fund, a push being led by new economy "superminister" Sergio Massa, who gained plaudits this week from the IMF over "strong steps" to stabilize the economy.

The South American country, which has been battling debt and currency crises for years, is grappling to bring down one of the world's highest inflation rates, which, according to a recent central bank poll, will end 2022 at 95%.

Rising prices, especially food and fuel, are hurting Argentines badly, which has damaged the center-left Peronist government of President Alberto Fernandez ahead of general elections next year.

"We expect inflation won't drop to an average of 6% until the end of the year, so 95% annual inflation is a floor," consultancy Econviews said.

Argentina's statistics body is expected to publish August inflation data on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Hernan Nessi; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Jonathan Oatis)

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