Argentina says 2018 inflation hits 47.6 percent

Argentina says that consumer prices rose 47.6 percent in 2018, the highest rate since 1991

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Argentina's consumer prices rose 47.6 percent in 2018, the official statistics agency announced Tuesday.

The annual inflation rate is the highest since 1991 and one of the world's highest. President Mauricio Macri has struggled to tame consumer prices, and Argentina's peso currency also lost about half of its value last year.

The economic turmoil led the government to seek a record $56 billion bailout with the International Monetary Fund.

Consumer prices rose 2.6 percent in December over the previous month. Top price increases for December were in communication, which rose 7.7 percent and health, up 5.2 percent. Increases in utility rates that are part of a series of austerity measures also fueled inflation.

For the full year, the largest increases were in transportation, which rose 66.8 percent, health, up 50.2 percent, and food and non-alcoholic beverages, with a 51.2 percent increase.