The South American nation is battling inflation that is running on an annual basis above 275%, and which is expected to clock in near 12% for the month of March alone when official data is released later on Friday.

That is, however, down from a peak of 25% in December when new libertarian President Javier Milei took office and sharply devalued the peso currency. He has since spearheaded tough austerity and cost-cutting measures that have helped start to overturn a deep fiscal deficit, win over investors and temper prices.

"Inflation is slowing down sharply," Minister of Economy Luis Caputo wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. He reposted a social media account called @BotCoto on X, which describes itself as a bot - an automated account - and claims to track supermarket prices at a local retail chain.

Opposition politicians have criticized Caputo for quoting the bot and another similar account. Reuters could not immediately establish who was behind it.

Meanwhile, poverty is rising and economic activity has stalled, sharpening the hardship felt by millions. Prices from groceries to healthcare are still climbing steeply, even in dollar terms.

"There is no drop in inflation, it is just words," said Maria Gen as she shopped for fruit and vegetables at a market in San Fernando on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

"I took advantage of coming to the market thinking that prices were going to be cheaper and they are just the same as in my neighborhood."

Analysts and economists say core inflation has shown signs of easing. But a monthly rate of 10% would still be far higher than the price rise most countries see in a whole year.

"Inflation is slowing sharply, but (utilities) tariff hikes are coming and that will prevent it from falling as much as it could do," said Argentine economic analyst Aldo Abram. However, the government was "nipping in the bud" the risk of hyperinflation, he added.

Presidential spokesman Manuel Adorni told reporters on Thursday the government would slay inflation, though it was hard to say how quickly.

"The end of inflation will be a reality," he said. "When? Of course we don't know, because we don't have a crystal ball."

(Reporting by Horacio Soria and Miguel Lo Bianco; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Rosalba O'Brien)

By Horacio Soria and Miguel Lo Bianco