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U.S. Wholesale Inventories Jump Much More Than Expected In January

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Wholesale inventories in the U.S. increased by much more than anticipated in the month of January, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday.

The report said wholesale inventories surged up by 1.2 percent in January after jumping by 1.1 percent in December. Economists had expected inventories to rise by 0.2 percent.

The bigger than expected increase in wholesale inventories was partly due to a 1.6 percent spike in inventories of non-durable goods, which followed a 0.1 percent uptick in December.

Inventories of petroleum products shot up by 10.7 percent, leading the way higher along with a 3.2 percent jump in apparel inventories.

The Commerce Department said inventories of durable goods also climbed by 0.9 percent in January after surging up by 1.7 percent in December.

Inventories of electrical equipment, furniture, and automotive products all showed significant increases, more than offsetting a steep drop in lumber inventories.

The report also said wholesale sales rose by 0.5 percent in January after falling by 0.9 percent in the previous month.

While sales of durable goods came in unchanged in January after rising by 0.6 percent in December, sales of non-durable goods increased by 0.9 percent after plummeting by 2.3 percent.

The rebound in sales of non-durable goods reflected notable increases in sales of farm products and miscellaneous non-durable goods.

With inventories spiking by more than sales, the inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers crept up to 1.34 in January from 1.33 in December.

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