Recent Updates

  • Mongolia: Foreign Trade (2017)
  • Singapore: Motor Vehicle Population (Mar)
  • US: Housing Vacancies & Homeownership (Q1), FHFA Home Mortgage Terms, Advance Durable Goods, Advance Trade & Inventories (Mar)
  • Canada: Payroll, Employment, Earnings & Hours (Feb)
  • Spain: Mortgage Market, Labor Force Survey (Q1) State Public Finance (Mar), Social Security Funds, Consolidated, Central Government Public Finances (Feb), Tax Receipts (Q1, Mar)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Business Inventories Have Smaller Increase, While Sales Back Off in August
by Carol Stone  October 15, 2014

Total business inventories rose 0.2% in August (5.7% y/y) after an unrevised 0.4% rise in July. Total sales, though, fell 0.4% in August (4.5% y/y) following 0.7% in July, which was revised slightly from 0.8% reported initially. The resulting inventory/sales ratio remained at 1.29 for a sixth consecutive month.

By sector, retail inventories declined 0.3% in August (+5.9% y/y) after growing 0.9% in July. Motor vehicle & parts dealers' stocks largely accounted for the August fall as they shrank 0.7% (+12.0% y/y) following a 2.2% jump in July. Nonauto inventories were virtually unchanged, -0.03% (3.1% y/y), after a 0.3% increase in July. Building materials inventories rose 0.4% (2.8% y/y) after 0.6% in July. General merchandise store inventories edged up 0.1% (2.9% y/y) after a 0.3% rise in July. Food & beverage store inventories were up 0.2%, the same as July (3.1% y/y). Furniture & home furnishings inventories fell 0.3% (5.8% y/y) after 0.1% in July. Clothing stores inventories also fell, by 0.7% (+1.3% y/y) after a 0.2% decline in July.

In the manufacturing sector, inventories were up 0.1% in August (3.7% y/y) and July was revised slightly from a 0.1% rise to unchanged. Durable goods stocks rose 0.4% for a third straight month (6.3% y/y) while nondurable goods were off 0.3% (also -0.3% y/y) following a 0.7% fall in July. In contrast, wholesalers' inventories rose 0.7% (7.9% y/y) after 0.3% in July. Those durable goods stocks were up 0.8% in August (8.5% y/y) and nondurable goods stocks were up 0.5% (6.9% y/y).

The August decline in business sales hit manufacturers, down 1.0% (+3.1% y/y) reversing July's 1.4% gain. Wholesalers' sales were also down, by 0.7% (+5.8% y/y) following a 0.4% increase in each June and July. Retail sales gained 0.6% in August (4.8% y/y) and as noted elsewhere on Haver.com, they gave part of that back in September.

While the overall inventory-to-sales ratio remained at 1.29 in August for a sixth straight month, there was some mix by sector. Retailers' I/S ratio fell from 1.43 in July to 1.41, but wholesalers' ratio rose to 1.19 from 1.17 and that at manufacturers ticked up to 1.30 from 1.29.

The manufacturing and trade data are in Haver's USECON database.

Manufacturing & Trade (%) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Business Inventories 0.2 0.4 0.4 5.7 4.3 4.9 7.9
 Retail -0.3 0.9 0.7 5.9 7.1 7.4 3.7
  Retail excl. Motor Vehicles 0.0 0.3 0.3 3.1 3.8 3.2 3.5
 Merchant Wholesalers 0.7 0.3 0.2 7.9 4.0 5.5 9.2
 Manufacturing 0.1 0.0 0.2 3.7 2.3 2.4 10.2
Business Sales (%)
Total -0.4 0.7 0.6 4.5 3.4 4.5 10.9
 Retail 0.6 0.2 0.4 4.8 4.3 5.0 7.7
  Retail excl. Motor Vehicles 0.2 0.1 0.5 3.4 3.0 4.0 7.1
 Merchant Wholesalers -0.7 0.4 0.4 5.8 4.3 4.8 12.4
 Manufacturing -1.0 1.4 0.8 3.1 2.0 4.0 12.1
I/S Ratio
Total 1.29 1.29 1.29 1.28 1.28 1.28 1.26
 Retail 1.41 1.43 1.42 1.40 1.40 1.38 1.36
  Retail Excl. Motor Vehicles 1.22 1.22 1.22 1.22 1.22 1.21 1.23
 Merchant Wholesalers 1.19 1.17 1.17 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.15
 Manufacturing 1.30 1.29 1.30 1.29 1.29 1.29 1.29
close
large image