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BUENOS AIRES, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Argentina's inflation clocked in at 7% on a monthly basis in August and soared to nearly 80% from the year-ago period, topping analysts' forecasts and dealing a blow to government and central bank officials' efforts to curb spiraling prices.
The month-on-month inflation reading, which was reported by the INDEC statistics agency on Wednesday, was cooler than the 7.4% in July but above the 6.6% median analyst forecast in a Reuters poll.
The South American country, a major grains producer, has one of the world's highest inflation rates. The situation, which has been aggravated by rising global food and fuel costs, has dented the popularity of President Alberto Fernandez's center-left government ahead of elections next year.
Inflation in the 12 months through August hit 78.5%, while prices were up 56.4% in the first eight months of the year. A central bank poll recently forecast that Argentina would end the year with an inflation rate of 95%, while some private analysts predict it will hit 100%.
(Reporting by Hernan Nessi and Jorge Otaola; Editing by Paul Simao)
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