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HomeNewsEconomyWholesale Trade: Sales and Inventories Show Renewed Momentum in January

Wholesale Trade: Sales and Inventories Show Renewed Momentum in January

A worker stacks boxes of television sets after they have been assembled, checked and repackaged, before moving them to the warehouse at Element Electronics in Winnsboro, South Carolina May 29, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)
A worker stacks boxes of television sets after they have been assembled, checked and repackaged, before moving them to the warehouse at Element Electronics in Winnsboro, South Carolina May 29, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

A worker stacks boxes of television sets after they have been assembled, checked and repackaged, before moving them to the warehouse at Element Electronics in Winnsboro, South Carolina May 29, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

The U.S. Census Bureau report on new wholesale trade statistics showed inventories rose 0.8% in January, slightly edging out the median forecast and advance 0.75 estimate. While inventory builds slowed in the fourth quarter (4Q), they appear to be gaining renewed momentum heading into the first quarter (1Q).

Sales

Sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $492.6 billion in January, down 1.1% (±0.7%) from the revised December level. However, they’re up 6.7% (±1.2%) from the level for January 2017. The November 2017 to December 2017 percent change was revised from the preliminary estimate of up 1.2% (±0.7%) to up 0.8% (±0.7%).

Inventories

Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were $619.1 billion at the end of January, up 0.8% (±0.4%) from the revised December level. Total inventories were up 4.8% (±0.7%) from the revised level for January 2017. The December 2017 to January 2018 percentage change was revised from the advance estimate of up 0.7% (±0.4%) to up 0.8% (±0.4%).

Inventories/Sales Ratio

The inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, based on seasonally adjusted data, was 1.26 in January. The January 2017 ratio was 1.28.

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