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Argentina extends gasoline price cap for 45 days

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Argentina will continue to limit fuel prices for an additional 45 days following a six-month price cap that was set to expire this week, the official gazette announced on Thursday, as the government struggles to contain double-digit inflation ahead of congressional elections later this month.

The cap could hurt profitability at energy companies, whose costs are rising along with one of the world's highest inflation rates.

Private-sector analysts expect Argentina's inflation rate to close the year at about 25 percent on an annual basis, though official estimates, which are widely seen as untrustworthy, put that figure at about 10 percent.

Argentina will hold mid-term congressional elections on Oct. 27, with recent polls indicating President Cristina Fernandez's administration could lose its control of Congress.

Inflation has been a key contributor to a decline in Fernandez's popularity, which currently hovers at about 34 percent, less than half of what it reached in October 2011, according to data from local consulting group Management & Fit.