Recent Updates

  • Bosnia: Gross and Net Wages (Apr)
  • Mexico: Gross Saving, GDP by Expenditure (Q1)
  • Portugal: PPI (May)
  • Romania: Industrial Turnover, New Orders Detail (Apr)
  • Denmark: Housing Market Stat (Q1)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Business Inventory Accumulation Continued in December as Sales Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  February 17, 2021

• Business inventories rise for six straight months.

• Sales increase after holding steady.

• Total business inventory-to-sales ratio remains at six-year low.

Total business inventories increased 0.6% during December (-2.6% y/y) following an unrevised 0.5% November. Total business sales rose 0.8% (2.5% y/y) after November's stability, revised from -0.1%. The inventory-to-sales (I/S) ratio held steady at 1.32 for the fifth straight month.

Retail inventories strengthened 1.2% in December (-5.8% y/y). Auto inventories, which comprise roughly 30% of retail inventories, grew 1.1% (-17.2% y/y). Non-auto retail inventories gained 1.2% (0.4% y/y), the sixth straight month of increase. General merchandise store inventories, the second largest retail sector, were up 0.5% both m/m and y/y. Department store inventories declined 0.4% (-9.4% y/y). Clothing store inventories rose 0.3% (-9.3% y/y) while furniture inventories gained 0.2% (-6.4% y/y). Food & beverage store inventories gained 0.6% (3.4% y/y). Wholesale inventories rose 0.3% (-1.6% y/y) while factory sector inventories also accumulated 0.3% (-0.6% y/y).

December retail sales declined 0.6% (+5.9% y/y) following a 1.0% November shortfall. Non-auto sales fell 1.4% (+4.8% y/y). Wholesale sector sales improved 1.2% (1.7% y/y) while factory shipments increased 1.7% (0.1% y/y).

The inventory-to-sales ratio in the retail sector increased in December to 1.28 from November's 1.26. In April, the retail I/S ratio hit a 26-year high of 1.68. The non-auto I/S ratio increased to 1.16, up sharply from its record low of 1.10 in September. The wholesale sector I/S ratio fell to 1.29, its lowest point since October 2018, and the factory ratio fell to 1.39.

The manufacturing and trade, industrial production and international trade data are in Haver's USECON database. Detailed industrial production data can be found in the IP database.

Manufacturing & Trade Dec Nov Oct Dec Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
Business Inventories (% chg) 0.6 0.5 0.8 -2.6 -2.6 1.7 4.9
  Retail 1.2 0.7 0.9 -5.8 -5.8 0.9 4.6
    Retail excl. Motor Vehicles 1.2 0.3 0.8 0.4 0.4 1.7 3.7
  Merchant Wholesalers 0.3 -0.0 1.3 -1.6 -1.6 1.4 6.5
  Manufacturing 0.3 0.8 0.3 -0.6 -0.6 2.8 3.6
Business Sales (% chg)
Total 0.8 0.0 0.9 2.5 -2.5 1.5 5.9
  Retail -0.6 -1.0 -0.1 5.9 3.2 3.4 4.2
    Retail excl. Motor Vehicle -1.4 -0.8 -0.1 4.8 3.8 3.3 5.1
  Merchant Wholesalers 1.2 0.3 1.7 1.7 -4.3 0.5 6.8
  Manufacturing 1.7 0.8 1.2 0.1 -5.7 1.0 6.6
I/S Ratio
Total 1.32 1.32 1.32 1.39 1.39 1.39 1.36
  Retail 1.28 1.26 1.23 1.44 1.34 1.46 1.46
    Retail excl. Motor Vehicles 1.16 1.13 1.12 1.21 1.17 1.23 1.22
  Merchant Wholesalers 1.29 1.31 1.31 1.34 1.37 1.34 1.28
  Manufacturing 1.39 1.41 1.41 1.40 1.47 1.38 1.35
close
large image