Inventories Soar in December

-edited

Wholesale inventories rose 1.1 percent in December. Retail inventories rose 0.9%.

Reporting Note

The Census Bureau announced today it would scrap the advance reports for January and February. It will return to its normal schedule in March.

The Advance Economic Indicators report on inventories shows a steep rise in wholesale and retail inventories.

Advance Wholesale Inventories

Wholesale inventories for December, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $661.8 billion, up 1.1 percent from November 2018, and were up 7.3 percent from December 2017. The October 2018 to November 2018 percentage change was revised from up 0.3 percent to up 0.4 percent.

Advance Retail Inventories

Retail inventories for December, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $651.1 billion, up 0.9 percent from November 2018, and were up 3.9 percent from December 2017. The October 2018 to November 2018 percentage change was unrevised from the preliminary estimate of down 0.4 percent.

Sales

Unless sales pick up, wholesalers and retailers are going to be sitting on a lot of inventory.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (4)
No. 1-3
Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Stock market tanking probably slowed spending during the holidays. December is backward looking so I'm not sure how that is a leading indicator. 2019 will be an inventory runoff and overhang.

Carl_R
Carl_R

This is not surprising. With tariffs going into effect in January, an inventory build in December, and an increase in the balance of trade deficit in December were to be expected. In January, those should unwind. It may be another month or so before we starting getting more stable economic data.

nic9075
nic9075

Please... This whole Tariff debate is just a dog and pony show and being used as negotiating tactic. The deadline was pushed out again,.

No actual Tariffs have been imposed on anything but last year corporations were stocking up on supplies due to this whole media driven Tariff debate.