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US business inventories rise modestly in September

Key Points
  • The Commerce Department said business inventories rose 0.3 percent after increasing 0.5 percent in August.
  • Retail inventories edged up 0.1 percent, while motor vehicle inventories advanced 0.4 percent in September.
A worker drives a forklift through the warehouse at Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits LLC distribution center in Louisville, Kentucky, Sept. 28, 2018.
Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. business inventories increased modestly in September amid a slowdown in stock accumulation at retailers.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday business inventories rose 0.3 percent after increasing 0.5 percent in August. September's increase in inventories, which are a key component of gross domestic product, was in line with economists' expectations.

Retail inventories edged up 0.1 percent in September as reported in an advance estimate published last month. Retail inventories increased 0.6 percent in August.

Motor vehicle inventories advanced 0.4 percent in September rather than the 0.3 percent rise reported last month. Auto inventories surged 1.8 percent in August.

Retail inventories excluding autos, which go into the calculation of GDP, slipped 0.1 percent in September as estimated last month. They dipped 0.1 percent in August. Wholesale inventories rose 0.4 percent in September and stocks at manufacturers gained 0.5 percent.

Inventories rebounded in the third quarter after being depleted in the April-June period. Inventories added 2.07 percentage points to the third quarter's 3.5 percent annualized growth rate.

Given strong domestic demand, businesses are likely to continue boosting stocks of goods, which should underpin production at factories and support economic growth in the fourth quarter.

Business sales increased 0.4 percent in September after climbing 0.5 percent in August. Sales at retailers rebounded 0.2 percent after slipping 0.1 percent in August.

At September's sales pace, it would take 1.34 months for businesses to clear shelves, unchanged from August.

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US retail sales rebound sharply in October

Key Points
  • U.S. retail sales rebounded sharply in October as purchases of motor vehicles and building materials surged.
  • Sales were likely driven by rebuilding efforts in areas devastated by Hurricane Florence.
  • The Commerce Department said retail sales increased 0.8 percent last month also as households bought electronics and appliances.
  • Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing 0.5 percent in October. Retail sales in October rose 4.6 percent from a year ago.