US consumer prices rose in June as the cost of petrol surged, but the overall trend continued to point to a gradual build up of inflationary pressures.
The Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index increased 0.3% last month, compared with a 0.4% gain in the previous month.
Petrol accounted for two-thirds of the rise in prices last month. In the 12 months through June, the CPI increased 2.1% after a similar rise in May.
Inflation is creeping up as the economy's recovery becomes more durable, a welcome development for some Federal Reserve officials who had worried that price pressures were too low.
The steady increases have led economists to predict that the main inflation gauge watched by the Fed, currently running below the US central bank's 2% target, could breach that target by year-end as an acceleration in job growth lifts wages.
Petrol prices jumped 3.3% after increasing 0.7% in May.
Prices for electricity also rose, but slowed from May's 2.3% increase.
Food prices edged up 0.1% in June, the smallest rise since January. Food prices have now advanced for six straight months. A drought in California last year has been pushing up prices, but the momentum is ebbing.
Stripping out food and energy prices, the so-called core CPI rose 0.1%, slowing after May's 0.3% increase.
In the 12 months through June, the core CPI increased 1.9% after rising 2% in May.
The core CPI was held back by declines in prices for new motor vehicles and used trucks. The cost of shelter moderated a little, as did airline fares and medical care services, which were flat.