WASHINGTON, July 15 U.S. business inventories
rose in May, suggesting restocking will still be a boost to
growth in the second quarter even as stocks at non-automobile
retailers rose marginally.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday inventories
increased 0.5 percent after rising 0.6 percent in April.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast inventories, which
are a key component of gross domestic product changes, rising
0.6 percent in May. Retail inventories, excluding autos, which
go into the calculation of GDP, edged up 0.1 percent after a
similar gain in April.
A sharp slowdown in the pace of inventory accumulation
helped to weigh down on the economy, which contracted at a 2.9
percent annual pace in the first quarter.
Inventories subtracted 1.7 percentage points from GDP and a
swing in restocking is expected to raise growth above a 3.0
percent pace in the second quarter.
Data already released has shown a steady increase in
wholesale inventories and a jump in stocks at manufacturers.
Business sales rose 0.4 percent in May after advancing 0.8
percent in April. At May's sales pace, it would take 1.29 months
for businesses to clear shelves, unchanged from April.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)