U.S. wholesale inventories rebound strongly in November

FILE PHOTO: A shopper walks down an aisle in a newly opened Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chicago in this September 21, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Jim Young/Files

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. wholesale inventories rose slightly more than initially estimated in November, suggesting that inventory investment will probably contribute to economic growth in the fourth quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that wholesale inventories rebounded 0.8 percent after dropping 0.4 percent in October. The department reported last month that wholesale inventories jumped 0.7 percent in November.

The component of wholesale inventories that goes into the calculation of gross domestic product - wholesale stocks excluding autos - also increased 0.8 percent in November.

Inventory investment contributed almost eight-tenths of a percentage point to the economy’s 3.2 percent annualized growth pace in the third quarter. Inventory investment accelerated in the third quarter after slowing sharply at the start of 2017.

Auto inventories increased 0.7 percent in November, reversing October’s 0.7 percent drop. There were also increases in inventories of petroleum, machinery and electrical goods.

Sales at wholesalers shot up 1.5 percent in November after increasing 0.8 percent in October. Sales of motor vehicles rose 1.2 percent in November after jumping 3.4 percent the prior month.

At November’s sales pace it would take wholesalers 1.24 months to clear shelves, the fewest since November 2014, down from 1.25 months in October.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci