Inflation expectations for the next 12 months slipped to 1.9% in the Atlanta Federal Reserve survey of business inflation expectations for the month of December from 2.1% in the November survey.

Costs rose 1.5% from last year, according to the survey, which had 207 respondents. It was conducted December 10-14.

Sales levels and margins improved "after a notable decline earlier in the quarter," the survey noted, but sales are about 7.7% below normal.

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