A key measure of U.S. inflation rose faster in January than the Federal Reserve would have liked, as policy makers watch for more signs of easing price pressures before they lower interest rates.

The personal consumption expenditures price index increased 0.3% last month from December, the Commerce Department said Thursday, in line with the expectations of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. The closely watched core index, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.4%, also matching the economists' forecast.

Over the 12 months through January, the overall PCE price index rose 2.4% while core prices climbed 2.8%. Both of those figures were below economists' expectations, as the Commerce Department revised down inflation data for December.

The central bank targets inflation at 2% per year, which translates to monthly price gains of 0.165%.

Monetary policy makers have signaled they want to see further progress toward that target before they consider reducing interest rates. Inflation, as measured by PCE prices, peaked at more than 7% in 2022.