US wholesale inventories up 0.1 per cent in May

WASHINGTON – U.S. wholesale businesses increased their stockpiles by a modest amount in May while growth in their sales slowed slightly.

The Commerce Department says inventories at the wholesale level edged up a slight 0.1 per cent in May following a much bigger 0.7 per cent gain in April. Sales increased for a third straight month, rising 0.5 per cent after a 0.8 per cent increase in April and a 0.6 per cent rise in March. Sales had fallen in January and February.

Since late last year, businesses have been slowing the rebuilding of their stockpiles in the face of weaker domestic sales and a fall in export sales. The slowdown in inventory restocking dampened overall economic growth late last year and early this year. But economists believe inventories added to growth in the second quarter.