US business inventories rise in August

Employee organizes treated lumber at Maze Lumber in Peru, Illinois.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. business inventories rose less than expected in August, which might lead economists to lower forecasts for economic growth in the third quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday inventories increased 0.2 percent, the smallest rise since June 2013.

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Economists polled by Reuters had forecast inventories, which are a key component of gross domestic product changes, climbing 0.4 percent.

Retail inventories excluding autos, which go into the calculation of GDP, were flat in August.

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Business sales fell 0.4 percent during the month, and at August's sales pace, it would take 1.29 months for businesses to clear shelves, unchanged from July.