WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) - U.S. consumer prices

increased for a fourth straight month in June as Americans paid

more for housing, gasoline and healthcare, pointing to steadily

rising inflation pressures.

The Labor Department said on Friday its Consumer Price

Index rose 0.2 percent last month after a similar gain in May.

In the 12 months through June, the CPI advanced 1.0 percent,

matching May's increase.

The year-on-year increase is below the 1.7 percent average

annual increase over the last 10 years.

Economists had forecast the CPI gaining 0.3 percent last

month and advancing 1.1 percent from a year ago.

The so-called core CPI, which strips out food and energy

costs, also rose 0.2 percent in June, rising by the same margin

for three consecutive months. That lifted the year-on-year core

CPI gain to 2.3 percent from 2.2 percent in May.

This increase is higher than the average annual rate of 1.9

percent over the past 10 years.

The Federal Reserve has a 2 percent inflation target and

tracks an inflation measure which is currently at 1.6 percent.

Concerns about persistently low inflation contributed to the

U.S. central bank keeping interest rates unchanged last month.

The Fed raised its benchmark overnight interest rate in

December for the first time in nearly a decade.

Last month, gasoline prices increased 3.3 percent after

rising 2.3 percent in May. Food prices fell 0.1 percent, with

the cost of food consumed at home declining 0.3 percent.

Within the core CPI basket, housing and medical costs

continued to march higher.

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence rose 0.3

percent after increasing by the same margin in May. Medical care

costs increased 0.4 percent after advancing 0.3 percent in May.

The cost of hospital services ticked up 0.1 percent and

doctor visits costs increased 0.3 percent. Prices for

prescription medicine jumped 1.3 percent.

But there was some relief for households. Apparel prices

fell 0.4 percent. The cost of used cars and trucks tumbled 1.1

percent. Prices for new motor vehicles slipped 0.2 percent.

(Reporting Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

((Lucia.Mutikani@thomsonreuters.com; 1 202 898 8315; Reuters

Messaging: lucia.mutikani.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))