Wholesale Inventory-To-Sales Ratio Drops To Record Low As Sales Of Petroleum Products Surge In Advance Of Price Hike

Another quite odd data point about the US Economy: while US wholesale inventories came at 1.1% on expectations of 0.9%, (a drop from the revised 1.3%), wholesale sales increased by 3.4% on expectations of 0.5%, (and the previous revised from 0.4% to 1.1%). A headline glance would indicate a trend of improvement, as the Inventory/Sales ratio dropped to an all time low 1.13. Yet digging into the wholesale data indicates that not is as it seems: "Compared to last month, sales of motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies were up 7.8 percent and sales of electrical and electronic goods were up 3.4 percent. Sales of non durable goods were up 4.4 percent (+/-0.9%) from last month and were up 16.2 percent (+/-2.1%) from last year. Sales of petroleum and petroleum products were up 10.6 percent from last month and sales of farm product raw materials were up 5.7 percent." It appears that the bounce in wholesale sales was attributed primarily to stockpiling of oil products in advance of what many anticipated (correctly) would be an oil price shock. Look for this metric to plummet in February and March as prices have no caught up with reality.


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