The US consumer price index, which measures the costs of goods and services to individuals, rose just 0.1% in December, the Commerce Department said in its monthly report. Shelter costs rose 0.4%, the most since August, including a 0.4 percent increase in rents and 0.3% in owners' equivalent rent, one of the categories created to track rental prices.
As a result, in the 12 months of 2017 inflation reached 24.8%, well above the central bank's target for 2017, of between 12% and 17%.
The Labor Department said its consumer price index inched up by 0.1% in December after climbing by 0.4 in November.
The Federal Reserve has been reluctant to raise interest rates because of stubbornly low inflation.
Weak import and producer price reports this week had raised concerns about the inflation outlook, although the two reports do not have a strong correlation with the CPI data. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2%.
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The latest uptick was mostly led by a sharp rise in vegetables inflation, which shot up to a four-year high of 22.5% in Nov'2017 from 7.5% in the preceding month.
For the full year, CPI rose 2.1%, the same as 2016, while core CPI slowed, posting a 1.8% increase after the 2.2% gain in the previous year.
But clothing prices fell for the fourth consecutive month, and airline fares fell 0.5% after a 2.4% drop in November. Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence climbed 0.3% after gaining 0.2% in November.
Food costs edged up 0.2 per cent in December and are up a modest 1.6 per cent over the past year.
Meanwhile, used vehicle and truck prices jumped 1.4% in the month, while new auto prices gained 0.6%. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.