As inflation soars, Argentines say they've seen this film before

By Lucila Sigal

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina is battling against triple digit inflation, its highest in over three decades, and that could climb to near 200% by the end of the year, stirring memories of hyperinflation in the late 1980s and other economic crises.

Rapidly rising prices, which have sped up this month after the government allowed a near 20% devaluation of the peso currency, are hammering consumers, pushing up poverty and stoking voter anger ahead of October general elections.

With costs often varying day-to-day, the specter of runaway inflation of years past has returned, despite hopes it can still be avoided and regular government measures including sharp interest rate hikes and price freezes to tamp inflation down.

"This is like a movie one has already seen several times," said Roberto Gonzalez Blanco, a retired 80-year-old public accountant, who has four daughters and 11 grandchildren, one of whom went to Australia in search of better opportunities.