BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina says consumer prices rose 3.9 percent in August, the highest rate so far this year.

That brings the 12-month nationwide inflation rate to 34.4 percent — one of the world's highest.

The inflation rate published by the official statistics agency Thursday follows a sharp devaluation of Argentina's currency.

The peso has plunged more than 50 percent so far this year. That led Argentina's government to seek a $50 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund aimed at strengthening the economy.

To obtain some early funds, President Mauricio Macri has promised to bring Argentina's primary fiscal deficit to zero in 2019. But austerity measures have fueled labor discontent.

Top price increases in August were in communications, which rose 12.4 percent, and housing, water, electricity and other fuels, up 6.2 percent.