US January final wholesale inventories +0.8% vs +0.7% expected

US wholesale inventories and whole sales data for  February

  • Last month was 0.6% (preliminary was 0.7% estimate)
  • Wholesale trade sales -1.1% vs 0.8% last (revised from 1.2%). Expected +0.7%.
  • US stock/sales 1.26 months word versus 1.23 months in December

The US wholesale inventories came in slightly higher than expectations of 0.8%, but the sales tumbled.

The component of wholesale inventories it goes into the calculation of GDP (wholesale stocks excluding autos) increased 0.9% in January suggesting a positive for 1Q GDP.

The bad news is the wholesale sales decline of -1.1%. That was the biggest drop in a year.  Motor vehicle sales fell -0.5%.  The fall in sales and rise in inventories raised the stock to sales ratio to 1.26 months from 1.23 months in December.  

Although sales fell and inventories rose, with the strength in the US jobs report today, the inventory rise is probably not as scary as it might suggest.  Why sales fell so much is surprising though. 

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