Rising rents and medical costs lifted underlying U.S. inflation in January by the most in nearly 4-1/2 years, signs of an uptick in price pressures that could allow the Federal Reserve to gradually raise interest rates this year.
The Labor Department said on Friday its Consumer Price Index, excluding the volatile food and energy components, increased 0.3 percent last month. That was the biggest gain since August 2011 and followed a 0.2 percent rise in December.
In the 12 months through January, the core CPI advanced 2.2 percent, the largest rise since June 2012. The CPI had increased 2.1 percent in December. The Fed has a 2 percent inflation target and monitors a price measure that is running well below the core CPI.