U.S. wholesale inventories increased less than initially estimated in March amid declines in the stocks of motor vehicles and a range of other goods.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday wholesale inventories rose 0.3 percent instead of the 0.5 percent gain it reported last month. Stocks at wholesalers increased 0.9 percent in February.
The component of wholesale inventories that goes into the calculation of gross domestic product - wholesale stocks excluding autos - rose 0.4 percent in March.
The government reported last month in its advance estimate of first-quarter GDP that inventory investment added 0.43 percentage point to the economy’s 2.3 percent annualized growth pace during that period. A report last week showed inventories at manufacturers increased 0.3 percent in March after rising 0.4 percent in February.
Wholesale auto inventories fell 0.2 percent in March after declining 0.4 percent in February. There were also decreases in inventories of professional equipment, drugs, apparel and groceries. Wholesale petroleum stocks were unchanged.
Sales at wholesalers increased 0.3 percent in March after surging 1.1 percent in February. Sales of motor vehicles fell 1.6 percent in March after increasing 1.2 percent in the prior month.
At March’s sales pace it would take wholesalers 1.26 months to clear shelves, unchanged from February.
Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci Lucia.Mutikani@thomsonreuters.com; 1 202 898 8315; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com