Wholesale inventories in the U.S. unexpectedly showed a modest decrease in the month of December, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday, with the decrease largely due to a drop in inventories of non-durable goods.
The report showed that wholesale inventories edged down by 0.1 percent in December following a revised 0.4 percent increase in November.
The modest decrease came as a surprise to economists, who had expected inventories to increase by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.6 percent growth originally reported for the previous month.
The unexpected drop in wholesale inventories in December was due in large part to a 0.6 percent decrease in inventories of non-durable goods, which rose by 0.6 percent in November.
Inventories of farm product raw materials and drugs and druggists' sundries showed substantial decreases, falling by 6.0 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.
On the other hand, inventories of durable goods crept up by 0.2 percent in December following a 0.4 percent increase in November.
The modest increase in inventories of durable goods came as notable increases in inventories of electrical and electronic goods and lumber helped offset sharp drops in inventories of furniture and auto parts and supplies.
The report also showed that wholesale sales inched up by less than a tenth of a percent in December after surging up by 2.2 percent in November.
Wholesale sales of non-durable goods increased by 0.8 percent, offsetting a 0.9 percent decrease in wholesale sales of durable goods.
With wholesale inventories and sales both showing little change for the month, the inventories/sales ratio for December was unchanged from the previous month at 1.19. The December 2011 ratio was 1.17.
by RTT Staff Writer
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