Tess Torelli March 14, 2018

U.S. business inventories increased solidly in January as sales recorded their biggest drop in 1½ years.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that business inventories rose 0.6 percent after advancing by the same margin in December. The increase in inventories, which are a key component of gross domestic product, was in line with economists’ expectations.

Retail inventories rose 0.7 percent in January instead of the previously reported 0.8 percent in an advance report published last month. Retail inventories gained 0.3 percent in December.

Motor vehicle inventories surged 1.7 percent as previously reported after decreasing 0.3 percent in December. Retail inventories excluding autos, which go into the calculation of GDP, edged up 0.1 percent instead of rising 0.3 percent as reported last month. They shot up 0.6 percent in December.

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