Wholesale Inventories in U.S. Unexpectedly Fall for Third Month

Inventories at U.S. wholesalers unexpectedly declined in June for the third month, the longest string in almost four years, as demand grew.

The 0.2 percent decrease in stockpiles at distributors followed a 0.6 percent drop in May that was larger than previously reported, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 28 economists projected a 0.4 percent increase. Sales climbed 0.4 percent.

Falling stockpiles of automobiles, electrical equipment and hardware mean that companies will need to replenish warehouses as demand improves, which will give American factories a boost. Wholesalers had enough goods on hand to last 1.17 months at the current sales pace, the least since April 2012.

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from a 0.2 percent decrease to a gain for 0.7 percent. The last time wholesale inventories fell for as many months was a one-year string from September 2008 to September 2009.

Wholesalers’ stockpiles of durable goods -- those meant to last three years or more -- were little changed in June. Sales of durables increased 1.1 percent. Automobile purchases increased 0.5 percent, leading to a 1.5 percent drop in inventories, the biggest this year.

Stockpiles of hardware declined by the most since September 2009, while stocks of electrical gear fell by the most since December 2011.

The value of unsold non-durable goods decreased 0.3 percent and purchases fell 0.2 percent.

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