The Census Bureau Monthly Wholesale Report for February shows inventories rose 1.0 percent nearly matching the Econoday consensus. It wasn't a difficult guess in light of the advance (preliminary) Census Bureau estimates.

  • Sales: February 2018 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 $495.9 billion, up 1.0 percent from the revised January level and were up 6.8 percent from the February 2017 level. The December 2017 to January 2018 percent change was revised from the preliminary estimate of down 1.1 percent to down 1.5 percent.
  • Inventories: Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were $625.6 billion at the end of February, up 1.0 percent from the revised January level. Total inventories were up 5.5 percent from the revised February 2017 level. The January 2018 to February 2018 percent change was revised from the advance estimate of up 1.1 percent to up 1.0 percent.
  • Inventories to Sales Ratio: The February inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sale offices, based on seasonally adjusted data, was 1.26. The February 2017 ratio was 1.28.

Monthly Inventory/Sales Ratio

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Wholesale Sales, Inventories, Ratio

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In light of retail sales falling three consecutive months, this inventory buildup appears questionable.

Autos? Why? Furniture? Why?

For discussion of retail sales, please see Confidence? Retail Sales Down Third Month.

Of course it could be that Globally Bad Weather we have been talking about.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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