Recession Alarm: Wholesale Sales Plunge Alongside Factory Orders, Worst Since Lehman

For the first time since Lehman, Wholesale Trade Sales dropped for a 3rd month in a row in January. Plunging 3.1% MoM (against -0.5% expectations), this is the biggest drop since March 2009. Excluding auto sales, wholesale sales fell 3.5%. Wholesale inventories rose 0.3% (beating expectations) with only a very modest -0.1% drag from oil.

This has sent the inventory-to-sales ratio soaring as the "Field Of Dreams" economy is back - but as one wise trader noted, we are now 10bps higher in inventory/sales than when we entered the recession in Dec 2007.

 

But the punchline is the following chart showing the annual change of Wholesale Trade Sales. It does not need much explanation:

 

It certainly puts the chart of the Factory Orders in much better context: