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U.S. inflation eases to 3.0% in June -- Headline and core inflation in the U.S. rose at a slower-than-expected pace in June, potentially bolstering the case for the Federal Reserve to wind down its monetary tightening cycle after a widely anticipated interest rate hike at its upcoming policy meeting.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' closely watched consumer price index increased by 3.0% annually, down from 4.0% in May. Economists had forecast a rise of 3.1%.

It was the lowest level in more than two years and represented a steep deceleration from the mark of 9.1% reached last June.

On a month-on-month basis, the reading grew by 0.2%, up from 0.1% in the prior month. Estimates had called for 0.3%.

Meanwhile, core CPI, which strips out more volatile items like food and energy, cooled to 4.8% yearly and 0.2% monthly. Expectations were for both measures to decline to 5.0% and 0.3%.

Despite the headline number inching ever closer to the Fed's 2% target, stickier core figures have fueled speculation that the central bank will raise interest rates later this month after pushing pause on its hiking cycle in June. According to's Fed Rate Monitor Tool, there is a more than 88% chance that the central bank will roll out a quarter-point jump in borrowing costs at its July gathering.

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