U.S. Inflation at fastest pace in 6 yrs.

Experts say U.S. consumer prices barely rose in June, but the underlying trend continued to point to a steady buildup of inflation pressures that could keep the Federal Reserve on a path of gradual interest rate increases.

Figures released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department showed that its Consumer Price Index edged up 0.1% as gasoline price increases moderated and apparel prices fell. The CPI rose 0.2% in May.

In the 12 months through June, the CPI increased 2.9%, the biggest gain since February 2012, after advancing 2.8% in May.

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI rose 0.2% matching May's gain. That lifted the annual increase in the so-called core CPI to 2.3%, the largest rise since January 2017, from 2.2% in May.

Economists had forecast both the CPI and core CPI rising 0.2% in June.

A tightening labour market and rising raw material costs are expected to push up inflation through next year. Manufacturers are facing rising input costs, in part because of tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on lumber, aluminum and steel imports.