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U.S. consumer prices rise in January

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U.S. core consumer prices rose at their quickest pace in more than a year in January, government data showed on Thursday, but the increase was not strong enough to suggest a build-up in inflation pressures.

The Labour Department said its core Consumer Price Index, excluding food and energy, increased 0.2 percent -- the largest gain since October 2009 -- after rising 0.1 percent in December.

The increase, which was above economists' expectations for a 0.1-percent gain, was driven by rises in the cost of apparel, shelter and airline fares. At most, the rise suggests the disinflationary trend in core inflation has bottomed.

Overall CPI rose 0.4 percent after increasing by the same margin in December. Food and energy accounted for over two-thirds of the rise in overall CPI. 

Economists had expected headline CPI to rise 0.3 percent last month.

The report came a day after the government reported core wholesale prices increased at their fastest pace in more than two years in January, raising concerns among some investors that inflation might be building up.

Despite the slightly above expectations rise in January, the consumer inflation report tended to support the Federal Reserve's views that inflation remains too low.

The report showed prices for new vehicles and used cars declining.

Surging commodity prices have put global central banks on the alert for inflation.

In the 12 months to January, core inflation rose 1.0 percent after rising 0.8 percent in December. That was the largest gain since March. Economists had expected a year-on-year rate of 0.9 percent.

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