Recent Updates

  • US: Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (Q3), IP & Capacity Utilization (Nov)
  • US: Industrial Production Detail (Nov)
  • Cyprus: Employment & Hours (Q3)
  • Ireland: GDP, BOP (Q3)
  • Brazil: Service Sector Indexes (Oct)
  • Euro area: International Trade (Oct)
  • Kazakhstan: Exports by Commodity (Oct); Kyrgyz Rep: Monetary Aggregates, State Budget, National Bank Balance Sheet (Oct),
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Wholesale Inventories and Sales Decline
by Tom Moeller  April 8, 2016

Inventories at the wholesale level declined 0.5% during February (+0.5% y/y) following a 0.2% January drop, revised from +0.3%. The shortfall reflected a 1.1% decline (+3.7% y/y) in the nondurable goods sector, despite a 1.5% rise (-9.6% y/y) in petroleum inventories. Farm-product inventories fell 4.2% (-7.3% y/y) while apparel inventories were off 1.3% (+9.6% y/y). To the upside, grocery & related product inventories rose 0.9% (4.4% y/y). In the durable goods area, inventories eased 0.1% (-1.3% y/y) as motor vehicle inventories fell 1.0% (+5.5% y/y). Furniture & home furnishing inventories remained unchanged (+6.6% y/y) while electrical product inventories rose 2.0% (-0.6% y/y).

Wholesale sector sales eased 0.2% (+0.7% y/y), down for the fourth straight month. Nondurable goods sales declined 1.6% (-2.4% y/y) as petroleum & petroleum product sales dropped 10.1% (-32.8% y/y) with lower prices. Paper product sales declined 1.4% (+9.8% y/y), but apparel sales gained 1.7% (11.2% y/y). Durable goods sales recovered 1.2% (4.2% y/y) as furniture & home furnishings sales rebounded 2.3% (8.9% y/y). Electrical equipment sales recovered 3.1% (6.4% y/y), but machinery sales declined 1.4% (+4.8% y/y).

The wholesale trade inventory-to-sales ratio eased to 1.36, but remained near the highest level of the economic expansions. The nondurable I/S ratio held at a record 1.05 as the petroleum ratio remained in record territory at 0.57. The ratio in the apparel sector of 2.14 was increased slightly y/y, and the chemicals ratio at 1.29 remained elevated. The I/S ratio in the durable goods sector eased to 1.69, down slightly from last year's high. The 3.05 machinery ratio was steady as was the ratio of 1.04 in electrical goods.

The wholesale trade figures are available in Haver's USECON database.

Wholesale Sector - NAICS Classification (%) Feb Jan Dec Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Inventories -0.5 -0.2 -0.2 0.5 1.8 6.4 3.8
Sales -0.2 -1.9 -0.3 0.7 -4.3 3.6 3.0
I/S Ratio 1.36 1.37 1.34 1.31 (Feb. '15) 1.30 1.20 1.18
close
large image