U.S. Businesses increased their inventories by more than expected in the month of January, according to figures released Tuesday by the Commerce Department.
Commerce Department figures put U.S. business inventories at a seasonally adjusted level of $1.569 trillion, up 0.7 percent from December.
The increase came in higher than the 0.5 percent increase predicted by most economists and comes atop revised figures for December that showed a 0.6 percent increase in inventories rather than the 0.4 percent initially reported.
The lion's share of the increase in inventories came in the retail sector, specifically in motor vehicle inventories, which rose 2.6 percent, the largest increase since July of 2010.
Overall retail inventories were up 1.1 percent, the largest increase since June of 2010.
Excluding motor vehicles, retail inventories were up a more modest 0.4 percent.
Total wholesale inventories were also up, rising 0.4 percent, while manufacturing inventories grew by 0.6 percent.
January business sales also increased by 0.4 percent, leaving the overall inventories/sales ratio unchanged from the 1.27 level recorded in December.
by RTT Staff Writer
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