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US consumer inflation keeps 6-year record in June

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Rising prices for food, gasoline, shelter and medical kept the annual measure of US consumer inflation at a six-year high in June, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

[WASHINGTON] Rising prices for food, gasoline, shelter and medical kept the annual measure of US consumer inflation at a six-year high in June, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The upward pressure on prices in the world's largest economy was apparent even excluding the volatile categories of food and fuel, suggesting the underlying trend could be sustained in the coming months.

The price gains come as President Donald Trump redoubles his trade wars with major US trading partners, which economists say could soon fuel price increases.

Washing machines, for instance, saw a record price surge following the tariffs Mr Trump imposed in January, growing by 2.8 per cent - the largest since the Labor Department started tracking them in December 1977.

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A monthly dip in electricity and natural gas prices weighed on the Consumer Price Index for June, which rose 0.1 per cent compared to May, a tenth of a point slower than economists expected.

The modest raise came despite a 0.5 per cent jump in the index for gasoline.

For the last 12 months the CPI, which tracks prices for household goods and services, was 2.9 per cent higher, the same as in May which was the highest rate since February 2012.

Excluding food and fuel, however, the "core" index rose 0.2 per cent for June, matching analysts' expectations on higher costs for medical care, autos and recreation.

Costs for clothing, air fares and furniture fell.

But core inflation rose 2.3 per cent compared to June of last year, its largest gain since January 2017.

The Federal Reserve will keep a close eye on the rising price pressures. The central bank is expected to raise benchmark lending rates twice more this year, anticipating that years of steady growth and falling unemployment will at long last drive inflation higher.

AFP

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