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Friday, March 22, 2019 - 10:12

MNI DATA IMPACT: US January Wholesale Inventories Rise 1.2%

--Jan Wholesale Sales Up 0.5%; Inv/Sales Ratio Rises To 1.34
--Business Sales Tracking +0.1%

WASHINGTON (MNI) - January wholesale inventories increased by 1.2%, vs. +0.1% expected by both a Bloomberg consensus and an MNI survey of analysts, while wholesale sales were up 0.5% in the month, data released by the U.S. Commerce Department Friday showed.

Retail trade sales, those excluding food services sales, were already reported up 0.2% in January's retail sales release, while factory shipments fell 0.4%, so an MNI calculation sees business sales tracking for a 0.1% gain.

Factory inventories were already reported up 0.5%. Since advance retail inventories have not been released, MNI cannot calculate a preliminary estimate for business inventories.

Here are the key findings from the release:

-When excluding the 1.4% rise in auto inventories, inventories would have still been up 1.2%, according to an MNI calculation. Excluding a 2.5% increase in auto sales, sales would have been up 0.3%, also according to an MNI calculation.

-The value of durable inventories rose by 0.9% in the month, led by increases in electrical, furniture, and autos. Nondurables inventories rose 1.6% in January on a 10.7% rise in petroleum and a smaller gain in apparel (+3.2%), but were partially offset by a 1.8% decline in farm products.

-Durables goods sales were flat in the month, on declines in miscellaneous durables and electrical. This was partially offset by increases in lumber, furniture, and autos. Nondurable goods sales rose by 0.9% in January on gains in apparel, farm products, and petroleum.

-Given the increase in sales and inventories, the inventory to sales ratio rose in the month. Wholesale inventories and sales both rose year over year, but sales rose slower than inventories. Inventories were up 7.7% year/year, and sales were up 2.7% from January 2018. The ratio is up to 1.34 from the 1.28 ratio seen one year ago.

** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **


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