Wholesale Inventories Rise Slightly Following Big Jumps in December and January

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Wholesale inventories rose 0.2% in February. The inventory to sales ratio is elevated.

This morning, the Census Bureau released Wholesales Inventory and Sales Numbers for February.

Inventories

Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were $668.9 billion at the end of February, up 0.2 percent from the revised January level. Total inventories were up 6.9 percent from the revised February 2018 level.

Sales

February 2019 sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading day differences but not for price changes, were $495.9 billion, up 0.3 percent from the revised January level and were up 2.1 percent from the February 2018 level. The December 2018 to January 2019 percent change was revised from the Monthly Wholesale Annual Revision Report estimate of up 0.4 percent to up 0.5 percent.

Year-Over-Year

  • Inventories Up 6.9%
  • Sales Up 2.1%

The inventory-to-sales ratio has been rising since mid-2018. With the economy slowing, the inventory build is not warranted.

U-Turn in Trucking

J.B. Hunt, the largest US trucking company had this to say: “Volume, or lack thereof, is obviously the main story.” The inventory pile-up hurts. And the driver shortage is ending."

For details of the trucking situation, please see U-Turn in Trucking: Cass Truck Shipment Index Down 4th Consecutive Month

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (2)
No. 1-1
bradw2k
bradw2k

Mish, for more US trucking info you might look at this: https://www.dat.com/industry-trends/trendlines DAT is basically a dating app for loads and trucks, they have massive industry data, I use to dev there, I'll ask some connections what some of those big negative YOY numbers are referring to.