Thu, 24 Jun 2021

U.S. sales up last month, inventories lower than expected

Robert Besser
12 May 2021, 04:24 GMT+10

WASHINGTON D.C.: U.S. wholesale inventories recorded a slightly lower-than-expected increase in March, as strong demand from consumers boosted sales, according to data released by the U.S. government.

Wholesale inventories rose 1.3 percent in March, compared to 1 percent the previous month, the Commerce Department announced.

Wall Street analysts had forecast an increase of 1.4 percent in stocks of wholesalers for the month, Reuters reported.

Compared to one year ago, wholesale inventories showed an increase of 4.5 percent in March, while sales at wholesalers rose 4.6 percent, after remaining unchanged the previous month.

With sales increasing at a quicker pace than inventories, the inventory-to-sales ratio, which measures how long it would take for firms to use their stocks, also dipped to 1.22 months' worth in March, from 1.26 months in February.

Meanwhile, the component of wholesale inventories that is included in the calculation of the gross domestic product swelled 1.3 percent in March.

In the first quarter, overall, a robust domestic demand led to a depletion of business inventories. The inventory drawdown shaved 2.64 percentage points off GDP growth.

Despite this, the economy grew at a strong 6.4 percent annualized rate in the January to March period, compared to 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020.

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