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July wholesale inventories barely budge, post smallest gain in a year

An employee arranges flat screen television inventory at the ABT warehouse in Glenview, Illinois.
Tim Boyle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An employee arranges flat screen television inventory at the ABT warehouse in Glenview, Illinois.

U.S. wholesale inventories barely rose in July, suggesting a slower pace of stock accumulation at the start of the third quarter that could prompt economists to trim their growth estimates.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday wholesale inventories edged up 0.1 percent, the smallest rise since July of last year, after a downwardly revised 0.2 percent gain in June.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected stocks at wholesalers to rise 0.5 percent in July after a previously reported 0.3 percent increase in June.

Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product changes. The component that goes into the calculation of GDP - wholesale stocks excluding autos - was flat.

A report last week showed stocks of manufactured goods at factories rose only 0.1 percent in July, which led some economists to cut their third-quarter growth forecasts.

Inventories added 1.4 percentage points to GDP growth in the second quarter.

Wholesale inventories in July were held back by declines in stocks of furniture, professional equipment, petroleum, paper and metals. Auto inventories increased 1.0 percent in July after declining 0.2 percent in June.

Sales at wholesalers rose 0.7 percent after climbing 0.4 percent in June.

At July's sales pace it would take 1.16 months to clear shelves, the lowest since December 2013 and down from 1.17 months in June.

--By Reuters