BUENOS AIRES, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Argentina Economy Minister Luis Caputo said on Monday that the South American nation's monthly inflation in February will be closer to 10% than to 20%.

Annual inflation in Latin America's third-largest economy recently reached 254% as the monthly figure topped 25%.

"I don't like to get ahead of the numbers," but "inflation for now is falling faster" than analysts expected, Caputo said on the local channel LN+.

Libertarian President Javier Milei took office in December promising to combat a rising poverty rate and undo regulations and privileges he says are holding back the economy.

While the government has struggled to win Congress' approval for a mammoth reform package, it saw a victory on the economic front on Feb. 16 when the economy ministry reported Argentina's first monthly budget surplus in 12 years.

Caputo on Monday predicted this month's inflation would reflect well on the government's early actions, which have included a 54% peso devaluation, reductions to energy and transportation subsidies and tax hikes.

"We are going to see a substantial drop (in February) that is a product of the fiscal and monetary control that we are carrying out," he said. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Brendan O'Boyle)