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MNI DATA ANALYSIS: US Wholesale Inventories Rises 0.8% In Jan>

--Dec Wholesale Sales Down 1.1%;Inventory/Sales Ratio 1.26 Vs 1.23
--January Business Inv Tracking +0.6%, Business Sales -0.3%
By Holly Stokes and Sara Haire
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - January wholesale inventories saw a 0.8% 
rise, a slight upward revision from the 0.7% increase in the advance 
estimate, while wholesale sales saw a 1.1% decrease, data released 
Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department showed. 
     Since wholesale inventories saw a 1.1% decline and factory 
inventories reported a 0.3% gain last Friday, and barring no revision 
to the 0.8% retail inventories, an MNI calculation expects a 0.6% gain 
for business inventories, to be released March 14.  
     With the addition of the 1.1% decline in wholesale sales to the 
0.3% decrease for retail trade sales from last month's advanced sales 
release and the 0.6% increase for factory shipments reported on March 6, 
an MNI calculation indicates there will be a 0.3% decrease for business 
sales, barring a large revision to retail trade sales.  
     Since January wholesale inventories increased, but wholesale sales 
saw a larger decrease, the inventory/sales ratio jumped to 1.26 from 
1.23 in December. Inventories year-over-year is up 4.8%, but sales have 
boomed in the past year, with a rise of 6.7% from January 2017. The 
ratio is below the 1.28 mark in January 2017, pointing to a faster sales 
pace than inventories in the past year. 
     Excluding the 0.7% rise in the auto category, wholesale inventories 
would have been up 0.9% in January after a 0.6% increase in December, an 
MNI calculation showed. 
     Wholesale sales excluding the 0.5% decline in autos would have been 
down further to 1.2% in January, following a 0.9% increase in December, 
with the year-over-year rate still strong at a 7.1% increase. 
     The value of durable inventories rose by 0.5% in the month, with 
auto inventories rising 0.7%. The remaining durables components were a 
mixed bag with mostly gains, but losses seen in lumber, professional 
equipment, computer equipment, and the miscellaneous durables 
     Nondurables inventories were up 1.8% in January. The biggest 
increases were seen in drugs (+4.3%), farm products (+2.8%), and 
petroleum (+4.1%). The remaining categores were mainly positive, with 
paper, groceries, and chemicals being the exception, registering 
negatives in the month.
     Durables goods sales were down 1.4% in the month, with auto 
sales down 0.5%. The remaining categories saw mostly declines, with 
only professional equipment, computer equipment, and metals posting 
     January nondurable goods sales were down 0.8% following December's 
1.0% gain. Most components were down, with drugs and petroleum sales 
posting the only gains for the month. Petroleum was up 0.8%, following a 
2.4% increase, and up 23.3% year-over-year. 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 ** 

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