U.S. wholesale inventories fell unexpectedly in June, according to figures released by the Commerce Department on Thursday, with wholesale sales dropping even further.
The report said U.S. wholesale inventories were estimated at a seasonally adjusted level of $481.9 billion in June, a 0.2 percent decline from revised May levels.
May wholesale inventories, which had initially shown a 0.3 percent increase, were downwardly revised to show essentially no change for the month.
Most economists had expected wholesale inventories for June to continue to increase, matching the 0.3 percent increase initially reported for May.
On a year-over-year basis, U.S. wholesale inventories were up 5.3 percent.
Wholesale sales continued to drop in June, falling by 1.4 percent. The decrease comes atop revised figures that showed May wholesale sales down 1.1 percent compared the 0.8 percent decline initially reported.
Despite the drops, wholesale sales remain up 3.1 percent from June 2011 levels.
The decrease in sales at the wholesale level eclipsed the May decline for the largest monthly percentage decrease since March 2009, according to Commerce Department figures.
With sales falling more sharply than inventories, the inventories-to-sales ratio crept up for the second month, rising to 1.20 in June from 1.18 in May.
The value of petroleum inventories fell dramatically in June, dropping 8.7 percent - the largest decline since October 2008. Apparel inventories fell by 1.6 percent, while inventories of metals, furniture and automotive products also showed notable decreases.
Durable goods inventories, however, crept up in June, rising by 0.2 percent.
Wholesale sales saw a larger, 1.9 percent decline in non-durable goods than the 0.7 percent decline in durable goods sales.
Wholesale sales of petroleum fell 5.3 percent in June, nearly matching the 5.7 percent drop in May. Wholesale sales of machinery, furniture, metals, hardware and paper also fell in June.
Automotive sales at the wholesale level, however, increased 1.2 percent, while apparel sales jumped 4.3 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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