WASHINGTON – The Labor Department reports on consumer prices for JuneThursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.
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RISING PRICES: Consumer prices likely rose 0.3 percent in June, according to a survey of economists by the data firm FactSet. They rose 0.4 percent in May, biggest jump since February 2013.
EGGS AND GASOLINE: An outbreak of avian flu has caused egg prices to surge. And gasoline prices, which in May registered the biggest one-month advance in almost six years, are expected to increase again in June. Excluding volatile energy and food prices, so-called core consumer inflation is expected to rise 0.2 percent in June.
TAME INFLATION: Overall inflation pressures remain modest. Consumer prices didn't increase at all in the year that ended in June. Core inflation was up 1.7 percent over that period. The Federal Reserve likes to see inflation running around 2 percent.
Fed chair Janet Yellen told Congress this week that the Fed is likely to raise short-term interest rates this year. The Fed has kept the rate it controls near zero since the end of 2008, first to calm financial markets after the panic of 2008 and then to bolster a weak recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-2009. But the U.S. economy has shown steady improvement. Employers are adding a healthy 208,000 jobs a month so far this year, and the unemployment rate has tumbled to a seven-year low 5.3 percent.