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U.S. Inflation Pressures Begin to Mount in December

A monthly gauge of U.S. inflation pressures rose for the ninth straight month in December, indicating a steady rise in prices in the coming months, a research group said on Friday.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute's U.S. Future Inflation Gauge (USFIG), designed to anticipate cyclical swings in the rate of inflation, rose to 98.2 in December from 95.6 in November, which was revised slightly lower from 95.7.

It was the ninth consecutive month the index has risen. "Thus, underlying inflation pressures are building steadily, pointing to higher inflation in the months ahead," said Lakshman Achuthan, managing director at ECRI.

The December USFIG annualized growth rate, which smooths out monthly fluctuations, climbed to 31.8 percent from 27.3 percent in November, which was revised higher from an original 26.8 percent.