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WASHINGTON (AFP) – U.S. consumer prices rose more than expected in June, mainly due to a sharp rise in gasoline prices at the pump, government data released Tuesday showed.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index rose 0.5 percent from May, when it edged up 0.1 percent.

Core CPI, excluding food and energy prices, rose 0.2 percent, the same pace as in May.

While core CPI came in as expected, the headline June prices rise was higher than the 0.3 percent rise on average estimated by analysts.

Still, inflationary pressures remained tame amid a tepid economy still struggling to gain traction four years after the Great Recession ended.

On a 12-month basis, consumer prices were up 1.8 percent in June, picking up from a 1.4 percent rise in May.

Core prices were 1.6 percent higher, the smallest 12-month change since June 2011, the department noted.

The data showed inflation remained well below the Federal Reserve’s inflation target of 2.0 percent.

“Consumer prices look set to end an especially slow stretch, but the acceleration will be orderly,” said Arijit Dutta of Moody’s Analytics.

A 6.3 percent jump in gasoline prices in June accounted for about two thirds of the rise in CPI, the Labor Department said.

The overall energy index rose 3.4 percent, after just a 0.4 percent increase in May.

Food prices edged up 0.2 percent following a 0.1 percent decline the prior month.

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