WASHINGTON Business inventories increased 0.6 percent in August, boosted by an increase in automobile stocks, the Commerce Department said on Monday.
Inventories rose to $1.6 trillion, the government said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast inventories rising 0.5 percent in August, so the report is unlikely to substantially change forecasts for economic growth during the third quarter.
Inventories in August were lifted by a 1.5 percent jump in stocks at auto dealers as sales accelerated from weak growth the previous month. Auto inventories had increased 2.7 percent in July.
Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product changes. Inventories excluding autos -- which go into the calculation of gross domestic product -- rose 0.2 percent after climbing 0.4 percent in July.
Business sales grew 0.5 percent to $1.25 trillion in August after rising 0.9 percent the prior month.
At August's sales pace, it would take 1.28 months for businesses to clear shelves, unchanged from July.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Andrea Ricci)