Futures traders suggested there is a higher chance that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates next month after a string of data releases showed a pick-up in inflation and retail sales at the start of 2017.

The odds of a rate rise in March were 42 per cent, from 34 per cent on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg data on federal funds futures.

Consumer prices grew at the quickest annual rate in almost five years, data released on Wednesday showed. Meanwhile, retail sales, an important gauge of the US consumer, also exceeded estimates last month.

The probability was already on the rise, after Fed chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that it would be “unwise” to wait too long before continuing to tighten monetary policy. Ms Yellen is set to testify before the US House of Representatives later in the day, another event which is expected to garner the attention of investors.

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