U.S. consumer prices rose in March, but inflation pressures remained generally benign, which should give the Federal Reserve ample scope to keep interest rates low.
The Labor Department said on Tuesday its Consumer Price Index increased 0.2 percent last month as a rise in food and shelter costs offset a decline in gasoline prices. The CPI index had gained 0.1 percent in February.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.1 percent rise last month. In the 12 months through March, consumer prices increased 1.5 percent after rising 1.1 percent over the 12 months through February.
The so-called core CPI, which strips out the volatile energy and food components, also rose 0.2 percent in March after edging up 0.1 percent the prior month.
In the 12 months through March, the core CPI advanced 1.7 percent after rising 1.6 percent in February.