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U.S. consumer prices maintain gains

WASHINGTON - U.S. consumer prices increased for a fourth straight month in June as Americans paid more for housing, gasoline and healthcare, pointing to steadily rising inflation pressures.

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The milk section of a grocery store is pictured in Los Angeles. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

WASHINGTON - U.S. consumer prices increased for a fourth straight month in June as Americans paid more for housing, gasoline and healthcare, pointing to steadily rising inflation pressures.

The Labor Department said on Friday its Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent last month after a similar gain in May. In the 12 months through June, the CPI advanced 1.0 percent, matching May's increase.

The year-on-year increase is below the 1.7 percent average annual increase over the last 10 years.

Economists had forecast the CPI gaining 0.3 percent last month and advancing 1.1 percent from a year ago. The so-called core CPI, which strips out food and energy costs, also rose 0.2 percent in June, rising by the same margin for three consecutive months. That lifted the year-on-year core CPI gain to 2.3 percent from 2.2 percent in May.

This increase is higher than the average annual rate of 1.9 percent over the past 10 years.

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The Federal Reserve has a 2 percent inflation target and tracks an inflation measure which is currently at 1.6 percent. Concerns about persistently low inflation contributed to the U.S. central bank keeping interest rates unchanged last month. The Fed raised its benchmark overnight interest rate in December for the first time in nearly a decade.

 

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