Key US price index up again

Policymakers at the US Federal Reserve have been doing all they can to tackle inflation. Their efforts to bring down prices by raising interest rates were starting to show some promising results. But new economic data suggests that inflation is sticking around.

Officials with the Commerce Department track what Americans pay for a variety of goods and services. Their personal consumption expenditures price index released on Friday shows that the figures are still going up. They say, in April, the index rose over a year earlier by 4.4 percent. That was up from 4.2 percent in March.

Policymakers use the index as their preferred gauge of inflation. They have reacted to rising prices by hiking interest rates at the fastest pace since the 1980s. But those moves put pressure on financial institutions that are vulnerable to higher rates. The situation led to the collapse of three regional banks.

Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell hinted at a pause in the rate hikes at a conference in Washington. But inflation remains much higher than the Fed's target of 2 percent. The new figures could add another wrinkle in the efforts to cool off rising prices.