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Economy in Brief

U.S. Business Inventories Gain
by Tom Moeller August 10, 2006

Total business inventories in June rose 0.8% in line with consensus expectations after a 1.1% upward revised gain in May. June business sales edged up only 0.2% from a 1.6% rate in the prior month. The inventory/sales ratio moved up to 1.26 from its low in May of 1.25.

Retail inventories increased 0.9% (5.8% Y/Y) after an unrevised 1.6% jump in May. The stocks at motor vehicles and parts dealers surged by 1.7% (9.4% Y/Y) in June, while excluding autos, retail inventories rose 0.5% (4.1% Y/Y). Furniture inventories moved up by 0.6% (4.5% Y/Y), while building materials inventories grew by 0.5% (7.8% Y/Y). Inventories at food and beverage stores and at clothing stores each rose 0.4%.

Wholesale inventories increased 0.8% (8.1% Y/Y) in June after a 0.9% gain in May. June petroleum inventories leveled off (-0.1%) after jumping 6.8% in May, but were still 35.8% higher than a year ago. Durables rose 0.5% (8.4% Y/Y) while nondurables were up 1.1 % (7.4% Y/Y).

Factory inventories rose 0.8% (5.5% Y/Y) in June. May inventories were revised up to a 0.7% gain from the earlier estimate of a slight dip.

Business Inventories June May Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total 0.8% 1.1% 6.3% 4.4% 7.6% -1.0%
  Retail 0.9% 1.6% 5.8% 2.7% 6.7% 3.8%
    Retail excl. Autos 0.5% 0.7% 4.1% 4.5% 7.1% 1.9%
  Wholesale 0.8% 0.9% 8.1% 7.1% 9.8% 1.8%
  Manufacturing 0.8% 0.7% 5.5% 4.0% 6.9% -7.4%
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