WASHINGTON, July 10 U.S. wholesale inventories
rose in May, reinforcing the view that economic growth should
surge in the second quarter following a weak first three months
of the year.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday wholesale
inventories increased 0.5 percent from a month earlier. The rise
was just below economists' expectations for a 0.6 percent gain.
The gains were driven by increases in inventories of metals,
autos, machinery and lumber.
Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product
changes. The component that goes into the calculation of GDP -
wholesale stocks excluding autos - increased 0.3 percent in May.
A sharp slowdown in the pace of restocking by businesses
helped to sink economic growth in the first quarter, but a swing
in inventories is expected in the April-June period.
The economy contracted at a 2.9 percent annual pace in the
January-March period, with inventories playing a big role in the
decline. Many analysts forecast growth in the second quarter to
rebound to around a 3 percent pace.
Sales at wholesalers increased 0.7 percent in May. At May's
sales pace it would take 1.18 months to clear shelves, which was
unchanged from April.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao)