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Wholesale Inventories Rise 0.3% in March vs 0.5% Expectation

Wholesale inventories rose less than economists expected. The advance estimate was simply too high.

The Econoday consensus range for wholesale inventories was 0.5% to 0.6% in line with the advance estimate. Instead, the Census Department reported March Wholesale Inventories at +0.3%. February was revised a tad lower, to +0.9% from +1.0%.

Sales: March 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 $497.9 billion, up 0.3 percent (±0.5 percent)* from the revised February level and were up 7.3 percent (±0.9 percent) from the March 2017 level. The January 2018 to February 2018 percent change was revised from the preliminary estimate of up 1.0 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 1.1 percent (±0.5 percent).

Inventories: Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were $627.4 billion at the end of March, up 0.3 percent (±0.2 percent) from the revised February level. Total inventories were up 5.5 percent (±0.7 percent) from the revised March 2017 level. The February 2018 to March 2018 percent change was revised from the advance estimate of up 0.5 percent (±0.2 percent) to up 0.3 percent (±0.2 percent).

Inventories/Sales Ratio: The March inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, based on seasonally adjusted data, was 1.26. The March 2017 ratio was 1.28.

It's the second week in May but we are still looking at numbers that tie directly into first-quarter GDP.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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