Prices in the U.S. rose sharply again in February based on the Federal Reserve’s preferred PCE index, reinforcing the view that inflation might not slow as much in 2024 as previously believed.

The PCE index rose 0.3% last month, the government said Friday. That's a touch below the 0.4% forecast of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

The more closely followed core rate that strips out food and energy also rose 0.3%. The core index is viewed as a better predictor of future inflation.

The increase in inflation in the PCE report didn’t come as a big surprise. A pair of reports on consumer and wholesale prices that also feed into the PCE index showed sharper increases last month.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell also forecast the likely increase in the PCE index after last week’s big meeting on interest rates. Fed economists did their own calculations using the CPI and PPI reports.

The yearly rate of inflation, meanwhile, edged up to 2.5% from 2.4%. That's the first increase since last September.