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Inflation shot up in May at the fastest pace in six months, pushed higher by soaring costs for gasoline and other types of energy the U.S. labor department reported Friday.
Consumer prices rose by 0.6 percent last month, as gasoline costs surged by 5.7 percent. Food prices, which have also been rising sharply, were up 0.3 percent as the cost of beef and bakery products showed big gains.
The Federal Reserve, which from September through April had been aggressively cutting interest rates to fight a mounting economic slowdown, is now indicating that its biggest concern has changed from the threat of a recession to worries that inflation could get out of control.
In a speech Monday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the Fed will "strongly resist an erosion of longer-term inflation expectations." Those comments have raised expectations that the Fed's next move later this year will be to start raising interest rates.