August 15, 2017 / 2:11 PM / in 5 months

U.S. business inventories post biggest gain in seven months

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. business inventories recorded their biggest increase in seven months in June as retailers accumulated stock at a brisk clip amid signs of a pickup in domestic demand.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that business inventories rose 0.5 percent after an unrevised 0.3 percent increase in May.

Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product. Retail inventories gained 0.6 percent in June as announced in an advance report last month. Retail inventories rose 0.6 percent in May.

Motor vehicle inventories increased 0.7 percent as previously reported after surging 1.2 percent in May.

Retail inventories excluding autos, which go into the calculation of GDP, increased 0.5 percent as reported last month. They rose 0.2 percent in May.

Inventory investment had a neutral impact on the second quarter’s 2.6 percent annualized growth pace after chopping off 1.46 percentage points at the start of the year.

Business sales rose 0.3 percent in June after edging up 0.1 percent in May. At June’s sales pace, it would take 1.38 months for businesses to clear shelves, up from 1.37 months in May.

The inventories-to-sales ratio for motor vehicles was unchanged at 2.25 months in June.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao

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