U.S. monthly consumer inflation rose moderately in May as gasoline price increases slowed, suggesting the Federal Reserve could continue to gradually raise interest rates this year.

The Labor Department's inflation report was published ahead of the start of the Fed's two-day policy meeting on Tuesday. Steadily rising inflation and a tightening labor market are seen encouraging the U.S. central bank to hike rates for a second time this year on Wednesday.

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.2% last month, also as food prices were unchanged. That followed a similar gain in the CPI in April. In the 12 months through May, the CPI accelerated 2.8%, the biggest advance since February 2012, after rising 2.5% in April.

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI rose 0.2%, supported by a rebound in new motor vehicle prices and a pickup in the cost of healthcare, after edging up 0.1% in April. That lifted the year-on-year increase in the so-called core CPI to 2.2%, the largest rise since February 2017, from 2.1% in April.

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