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WASHINGTON, April 29 (Reuters) - - U.S. inflation barely rose in March as consumer spending remained tepid, making it less likely that the Federal Reserve will be able to hike interest rates twice this year. The Commerce Department said on Friday the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, excluding the volatile food and energy components, edged up 0.1 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.2 percent increase in February. Last month's gain in the so-called PCE was in line with economists' expectations.
By Jonathan Cable LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's key interest rate is likely to stay at a record low of 0.5 percent until at least January as the Bank of England waits for growth and inflation to pick up, a Reuters poll forecast on Friday. Britons vote in a referendum on June 23 to decide whether to remain a member of the European Union, which has clouded an already uncertain economic outlook. Opinion polls on the outcome have been close, but most have shown the country will probably remain in the bloc.
By Lisa Barrington and Jack Stubbs MOSCOW/BEIRUT - (Reuters) - Syria declared brief local truces near Damascus and in one province on Friday but made no mention of halting combat on the main battlefield in Aleppo, after a surge in fighting the United Nations said showed "monstrous disregard" for civilian lives. The statement made no mention however of the city of Aleppo, scene of the worst violence, which is divided between rebel-held and government areas. Russian news agencies quoted an opposition figure saying the new truce would also apply to Aleppo, but there was no separate confirmation of this.