Market rates moved higher on strong inflation data but slower economic growth.

The surge in the omicron variant is having an impact on the economy. Retail sales for December declined by 1.9% from the level in November. Sales excluding autos were down by 2.3%. Spending using the internet dropped by 8.7% for the month reflecting the surge by those who feared not getting orders filled in time for the holidays. Some this decline was a function of the drop in gasoline prices. Retail sales data is not adjusted for price changes so a drop in gas prices causes a decline in dollar sales. The drop in gas prices has been reversed in January as we are back to price levels of late November. It is clear we ended the year on a weak note after growth in both October and November were very strong.