U.S. Feb business inventories highest since July

WASHINGTON, April 14 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. business inventories
rose slightly more than expected in February to their highest
level in seven months as businesses restocked to meet
strengthening domestic demand, a government report showed on
Wednesday.

The Commerce Department said inventories increased 0.5
percent, the largest increase since July 2008, to $1.33
trillion – the highest since July. January inventories were
revised up 0.2 percent, after being previously reported as
being flat. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.4
percent rise in February inventories.

Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product
changes over the business cycle and a sharp slowdown in the
pace of inventory depletion is driving the economy’s recovery
that started in the second half of 2009.

Business sales increased 0.3 percent to $1.04 trillion in
February, the highest level since October 2008, following a 0.7
percent increase in January. That left the
inventory-to-sales-ratio, which measures how long it would take
to clear shelves at the current sales pace, unchanged at 1.27
months’ worth.

Manufacturers’ inventories rose 0.5 percent, the largest
increase since August 2008, after increasing 0.3 percent the
prior month. Inventories at retailers climbed 0.3 percent in
February following a 0.1 percent gain in January.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

U.S. Feb business inventories highest since July