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Economy in Brief

U.S. Business Inventory Accumulation Up
by Tom Moeller September 14, 2006

In July, total business inventories rose 0.6% following an upwardly revised 0.9% June gain. Consensus expectations had been for a 0.5% increase. That combination left the inventory to sales ratio stable m/m at 1.26, up from its low in May of 1.25.

Retail inventories rose 0.4% led by a 0.5% (15.3% y/y) surge in motor vehicles & parts. Excluding autos, retail inventories rose 0.3% (4.5% y/y). Furniture inventories moved up 4.9% y/y, while building materials inventories grew 8.7%. Clothing store inventories rose 5.5% y/y but inventories of general merchandise grew just 1.2%.

Wholesale inventories increased another 0.8% (8.8% Y/Y) in July led by a 1.2% (25.0% y/y) gain in petroleum inventories. Durables rose 9.2% y/y.

Factory inventories rose 0.6% (5.7% y/y), the fastest y/y rate of accumulation in a year.

Business Inventories July June Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total 0.6% 0.9% 7.4% 4.4% 7.6% -1.0%
  Retail 0.4% 0.9% 7.8% 2.7% 6.7% 3.8%
    Retail excl. Autos 0.3% 0.5% 4.5% 4.5% 7.1% 1.9%
  Wholesale 0.8% 0.8% 8.8% 7.1% 9.8% 1.8%
  Manufacturing 0.6% 0.9% 5.7% 4.0% 6.9% -7.4%
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