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U.S. Wholesale Inventories Unexpectedly Rise 0.3% In January

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Wholesale inventories in the U.S. unexpectedly saw a modest increase in the month of January, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

The Commerce Department said wholesale inventories rose by 0.3 percent in January following a revised unchanged reading in December.

Economists had expected inventories to edge down by 0.1 percent, matching the drop originally reported for the previous month.

The unexpected increase reflected a jump in inventories of non-durable goods, which surged up by 1.1 percent in January after rising by 0.4 percent in December.

The report showed significant increases in inventories of paper and paper products and drugs and druggists' sundries.

On the other hand, the report said inventories of durable goods fell by 0.3 percent in January following a matching decrease in December.

Inventories of electrical and electronic goods showed a steep drop, while inventories of motor vehicles, parts, and supplies saw a notable increase.

The report also showed a continued decrease in wholesale sales, which tumbled by 1.3 percent in January after falling by 0.6 percent in December.

Sales of durable goods plunged by 1.9 percent amid steep drops in sales of computers, peripheral equipment and software and furniture and home furnishings.

The Commerce Department said sales of non-durable goods also fell by 0.6 percent amid a 6.9 percent drop in sales of petroleum and petroleum products.

With inventories rising and sales falling, the inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers climbed to 1.35 in January from 1.33 in December. The ratio came in at 1.28 in the same month a year ago.

Compared to the same month a year ago, wholesale inventories were up by 2.0 percent in January, while wholesale sales were down by 3.1 percent.

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