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--May Wholesale Sales +2.5%; Inv/Sales Ratio 1.24 Vs 1.27 In April
--May Business Inv Tracking +0.4%, Business Sales +1.3%
By Kevin Kastner, Harrison Clarke, and Shikha Dave
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - May wholesale inventories increased by 0.6%, 
revised upward from the 0.5% gain reported in the advance estimate, 
while wholesale sales increased 2.5% in the month, data released by the 
U.S. Commerce Department on Wednesday showed. 
     Given that wholesale inventories rose 0.6% and factory inventories 
were already reported up 0.2%, and barring no revision to the 0.4% rise 
in retail inventories, an MNI calculation is expecting an increase of 
0.4% for business inventories, which will be released on July 16.  
     With the addition of the 2.5% gain in wholesale sales to the 0.8% 
increase for retail trade sales from last month's advanced sales release 
and the 0.6% gain for factory shipments already reported, an MNI 
calculation predicts that business sales will see a 1.3% rise, barring 
no large revision to retail trade sales data. 
     Since wholesale inventories posted a much more modest gain than did 
sales, the inventory/sales ratio fell to 1.24. Inventories were up 5.9% 
year/year, while sales have risen 11.8% from May 2017. The ratio is down 
from the 1.31 ratio seen one year ago due to sales growth outpacing 
inventories over the past year. 
     When excluding the 1.2% decline in auto inventories, inventories 
would have been up 0.8%, according to an MNI calculation. Excluding a 
2.9% increase in auto sales, sales would have been up 2.5%, also 
according to an MNI calculation. 
     The value of durable inventories rose by 0.5% in the month, led by 
gains in every category except autos. Nondurables inventories rose 0.7% 
in May on drugs and petroleum. 
     Durables goods sales were up 1.9% in the month, with the categories 
generally higher. Nondurable goods sales rose by 3.1% in May on an 8.3% 
rise in petroleum. 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 ** 

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