U.S. Economic Indicators

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 2.0 points to 102.7 in December as two components improved, six weakened, and two were unchanged. Despite the dip in the index, an increased number of small business owners reported better business conditions and improved sales expectations. NFIB Report

Consumer prices rose 0.2% in December (up 2.3% from a year ago). The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.1% in December and is up 2.3% from last year. BLS Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that China’s export growth slowed to just 0.5% last year – the lowest reading in three years – as trade tensions with the United States and a decelerating global economy took their toll. Improvement in China’s exports will depend on economic recovery of China’s trading partners; the partial trade deal with the U.S. due to be signed later this week will likely have only a marginal effect. FT