BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina said on Wednesday consumer prices rose 4.2 percent in May from the prior month, above market expectations of 3.8 percent for the first official inflation data since President Mauricio Macri became president in December.

Most private analysts had questioned the credibility of government data under Macri's predecessor, Cristina Fernandez.

The data released by the newly revamped Indec statistics agency was taken from consumer prices in the greater Buenos Aires capital area.

Inflation, among the world's highest last year, shot higher after Macri lifted currency controls in December. The move weakened the local peso <ARS=RASL> by about 30 percent, increasing the price of imported goods.

Macri, a proponent of free markets after eight years of heavy state control of the economy under Fernandez, suspended the publication of economic data while his team reorganized the government's statistics gathering.

"It's a positive development in that they are resuming the publication of data. It's another step toward the normalization of the economy," said Alberto Ramos, head of emerging markets research at Goldman Sachs in New York.

The headline number of 4.2 percent underscores the urgent need to slow the increase in consumer prices as soon as possible, Ramos added.

(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)