Mixed Picture on Consumer Prices

Updated from 8:38 a.m. EDT

Overall inflation rose more than expected in June, but the core rate measuring prices, minus food and energy costs, moderated.

The consumer price index rose 0.3% last month while a sub index, excluding energy and food, inched up just 0.1%, according to a government report Friday.

Economists were forecasting gains of 0.2% in both the headline and core rates. The headline rate jumped 0.6% in May, while the core rate rose 0.2%.

The government said two-thirds of the overall June increase was because of energy prices, but that's a very relative statement. While energy prices rose 2.6% from May, the pace slowed dramatically from a 4.6% increase in the previous month. Food costs rose 0.2% in June, compared to a 0.9% spike in May.

The government Thursday said the producer price index, or inflation at the wholesale level, fell 0.3% following a 0.8% jump in May. The consensus forecast was for a 0.2% gain.

Core prices, which exclude energy and food costs, rose as expected, gaining 0.2%, a slight improvement from May's 0.3% rate.

The latest inflation reports offer something of a respite for the markets, which have taken a keen interest in the sudden and swift increase in price pressures recently, prompting some to worry it would force the Fed to raise interest rates more aggressively than previously thought.

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