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Chile says inflation data was manipulated for three months in 2018

SANTIAGO, May 17 (Reuters) - An audit by Chile's statistics agency INE found that inflation data was manipulated for three months last year, the agency said on Friday.

The irregularities slightly altered the monthly readings for August, October and November of 2018, INE said in a statement.

INE, which announced the investigation earlier this week, has said it suspended the head of its consumer pricing division.

August inflation should have been 0.1% instead of 0.2% as reported, INE said. In September there were also signs of manipulation but they did not alter the month's reading of 0.3%.

While there was no indication of irregularities in October, the month's reading should have been 0.5% instead of 0.4% due to the erroneous comparison base of September, INE added.

In November, manipulated data did not affect the monthly figure, it added. (Reporting By Natalia Ramos; Writing By Mitra Taj; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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