Wholesale Inventories Rise as New Cars Go Unsold

U.S. wholesale inventories increased more than previously estimated in May as automobile stocks rose amid declining sales, but inventory investment still likely weighed on economic growth in the second quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday wholesale inventories climbed 0.4 percent. That was the biggest gain since December 2016 and followed a 0.4 percent decline in April. The department reported last month that wholesale inventories increased 0.3 percent in May.

Auto inventories jumped 0.7 percent after declining 1.4 percent in April. The auto sector has been hit by slowing demand, which has seen manufacturers reporting a decrease in sales for four straight months.

The component of wholesale inventories that goes into the calculation of gross domestic product – wholesale stocks excluding autos – increased 0.3 percent in May.

A report last week showed inventories at factories slipped 0.1 percent in May. Data on retail inventories will be published on Friday.

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