Merchant wholesalers posted a 0.6 increase in inventories in November, while sales grew at a 2.2% rate in the month, according to data released yesterday by the Commerce Department.

Inventories of merchant wholesalers rose to $406.2 billion following an unrevised unchanged level in October.

Meanwhile, sales of merchant wholesalers rose to about $380.4 billion following October’s revised 1.4% increase to $372.2 billion, originally reported as a 0.7% gain.

Economists polled by IFR Markets predicted a 0.3% increase in wholesale inventories, and 0.3% growth in wholesale sales.

Inventories were up 4.3% from November 2006, when they were at $389.4 billion, while year-over-year, sales posted a 14.0% jump from $333.76 billion. Wholesale petroleum inventories rose 6.9%.

The inventories to sales ratio was 1.07, down from 1.08 last month and 1.17 a year ago.

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