Consumer prices rose in May by the most in more than a year, showing U.S. companies are gaining some pricing power as the economy strengthens, and the homebuilding industry stabilized after a first-quarter swoon.
The cost of living increased 0.4 percent, the biggest advance since February 2013, according to Labor Department data released today in Washington. Other figures showed builders broke ground on 1 million homes at an annualized rate after 1.07 million in April, the best two-month reading since late 2013.
The reports will be welcome news to Federal Reserve policy makers meeting today and tomorrow as the pickup in inflation lessens the threat of a prolonged drop in prices that hurts economic growth. Central bankers are projected to continue scaling back their bond-buying program, while an increase in interest rates is delayed until well into 2015.
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