US consumer prices rose more than expected in June as fuel prices jumped and underlying inflation pressures stabilized.

It further fuelled expectations that the Federal Reserve will start scaling back its bond purchases later this year.

The Labor Department reported that its Consumer Price Index increased 0.5%, the largest increase since February, after moving up 0.1% in May.

Gasoline prices accounted for about two thirds of the increase.

In the 12-months to June, consumer prices increased 1.8% after rising 1.4% in May.

It was also the largest increase since February.

While inflation remains below the Federal Reserve's 2% target, details of the report suggested that recent trend had probably run its course, with medical care costs rising.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who last month said the central bank would start cutting back the $85 billion in bonds it is purchasing each month to keep borrowing costs low, has viewed the low inflation as temporary and expects prices to push higher.