U.S. wholesale inventories for December revised higher

File photo of shopper walking down aisle in newly opened Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chicago
A shopper walks down an aisle in a newly opened Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chicago in this September 21, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Jim Young/Files

February 9, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. wholesale inventories rose more than initially estimated in December, helped by a sturdy rise in auto stocks.

The Commerce Department said on Friday that wholesale inventories rose 0.4 percent after a revised 0.6 percent rise in November. The department reported last month that wholesale inventories rose 0.2 percent in December.

Auto inventories rose 1.7 percent after increasing 0.9 percent in November.

The component of wholesale inventories that goes into the calculation of gross domestic product – wholesale inventories excluding auto stocks – rose 0.2 percent in December.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data.

Inventory investment cut 0.67 percentage point from GDP growth in the fourth quarter, according to the government’s advance estimate released last month. GDP grew 2.6 percent in the October-December quarter.

Sales at wholesalers rose 1.2 percent in December after gaining 1.9 percent in November.

Inventories in December were up 3.4 percent from the year-earlier period, while sales jumped 9.1 percent.

At December’s sales pace it would take wholesalers 1.22 months to deplete stocks, compared with 1.23 in November. The inventories-to-sales ratio for motor vehicles rose to 1.72 in December from 1.69 in the prior month.

(Reporting by Andrea Ricci; Editing by Paul Simao)