WASHINGTON — The value of wholesale inventories rose 0.5% in August while sales were up 0.6%, data released Friday morning by the U.S. Commerce Department showed.
Even excluding the auto category, wholesale inventories would have been up 0.4% in August after a 0.1% rise in the previous month, an MNI calculation showed. Sales would have been up 0.7% in August if a decline auto sales were excluded. This followed a 0.3% rise in July.
The overall inventory-to-sales ratio was held steady at 1.17 in August, but was still down from 1.21 in August 2012 as sales growth outpaced inventory growth over the last 12 months.
The value of durable inventories rose 0.6% in the month, as auto inventories were up 2.4% and the remaining durables components up 0.3% combined. There were gains for most of the components, with the exception of declines for hardware and metals, as well as computer equipment, a subcategory of professional equipment.
Nondurables inventories rose 0.5% with petroleum stocks up 2.8%, miscellaneous nondurables inventories up 3.0% and drug inventories up 2.4% to offset declines in farm products, chemicals, paper, and alcohol.
Durables goods sales rose by 0.9% despite a 0.9% decline in automotive sales. The remaining durables categories were generally higher and combined for a 1.3% increase.
Nondurable goods sales rose 0.3%, with the components mixed. Petroleum sales were rose 1.5%.
Due to the rescheduling of data releases following the Federal Government shutdown, the August wholesale data are the only direct input to business inventories and sales that will be released before the retail sales and business reports on October 29.
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