US petrol costs drive up inflation

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Petrol prices in the United States jumped 0.9 per cent in January, pushing overall consumer prices up and offering a reminder of the risks energy costs pose to the economic recovery.

The 0.2 per cent increase in the consumer price index reported by the US labour department shows inflation remains largely under control, but a reading of underlying price pressures could reinforce caution at the Federal Reserve as it mulls further measures to help the economy. The gain in petrol prices followed three straight months of declines.