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US small business confidence dips in January, survey shows

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Tuesday 09 Feb 2021

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - Small business confidence in the US dipped at the start of the year with many company owners downbeat after Democrats won the presidential election and new Covid-19 cases surged, the results of a closely-followed survey revealed.

The National Federation of Independent Business' confidence index slipped from a reading of 95.9 for December to 95.0 in January.

Economists had forecast a reading of 97.0.

Nevertheless, Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macroeconomics sounded a confident note, telling clients: "These numbers are well down from their pre-Covid levels but the recent trends suggest that the services sector is now more or less frozen in place, waiting for the recovery when the virus is beaten."

Since October, survey readings for expectations, sales expectations and earnings expectations had all moved lower, but the remaining subindices had moved by much less, including those for hiring and capital expenditures.

The survey's measure of selling prices was also pointing higher, to a rise in core consumer price inflation towards a year-on-year rate of approximately 2.5% over the next few months.

But Sheperdson was sanguine on that score as well, arguing that it would mostly be a function of so-called 'base effects' and hence "was not a big deal".