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U.S. wholesale inventories drop for ninth month

WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) - U.S. wholesale inventories shrank for the ninth month in a row in May to $402.24 billion, their lowest level since August 2007, government data showed on Thursday.

The 0.8 percent drop was smaller than the 1.0 percent decline analysts polled by Reuters had expected. The Commerce Department also revised April’s fall to 1.3 percent from the 1.4 percent reported last month.

Sales at merchant wholesalers rose 0.2 percent, beating analysts’ expectations that they would be unchanged and pushing the inventory-to-sales ratio, a measure of how long it would take to deplete current stocks, down to 1.29 months’ worth from April’s 1.31 months. That was the lowest since a matching ratio in November. (Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Theodore d’Afflisio)

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