Inventories in the U.S. increased in April as sales declined for a second month, showing companies may limit orders to manufacturers.
Stockpiles (MTIBCHNG) rose 0.3 percent in April after a revised 0.1 percent decline that was initially reported as little changed, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.3 percent advance. Sales fell 0.1 percent after dropping 1.2 percent.
Businesses had enough items on hand to last 1.31 months at the current sales pace in April, the highest since October 2009 and indicating factory production may cool as companies work off excess stock.
The median forecast for business inventories was based on a Bloomberg survey of 48 economists. Estimates ranged from a 0.2 percent decline to a gain of 0.5 percent.
In May, retail sales rose more than forecast, showing job gains and lower borrowing costs are encouraging consumers to spend, according to another Commerce Department report today.
The 0.6 percent increase was the biggest in three months. The median forecast of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.4 percent advance.
Retailers’ stockpiles, the only part of today’s inventory report not previously released, climbed 0.4 percent in April. Sales were unchanged. The inventory-to-sales ratio for retailers rose to 1.41 months in April from 1.4 months.
Excluding auto dealers, retailer stockpiles also increased 0.4 percent.
Progress on reducing joblessness may support consumers’ willingness to spend. The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits decreased by 12,000 to 334,000 in the week ended June 8, a Labor Department report showed today.
Factory inventories climbed 0.2 percent in April as sales dropped 0.7 percent.
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