Wholesale inventories in the U.S. increased by slightly more than expected in the month of January, a report from the Commerce Department revealed on Friday.
The Commerce Department said wholesale inventories climbed by 0.8 percent in January after rising by an upwardly revised 0.7 percent in December.
Economists had expected inventories to rise by 0.7 percent compared to the 0.4 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
The bigger than expected increase in wholesale inventories was partly due to a continued jump in inventories of non-durable goods, which soared by 1.8 percent in January after surging up by 1.1 percent in December.
Sharp increases in inventories of drugs, petroleum and farm products more than offset notable decreases in inventories of chemicals and paper.
The report said inventories of durable goods edged up by 0.2 percent in January after rising by 0.4 percent in the previous month.
Increases in inventories of furniture, hardware, and automotive goods were partly offset by a steep drop in inventories of computer equipment.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said wholesale sales slumped by 1.1 percent in January after climbing by 0.8 percent in December.
Sales of durable goods tumbled by 1.4 percent in January after rising by 0.6 percent in December, reflecting sharp decreases in sales of miscellaneous goods, machinery, furniture, and electrical goods.
The report said sales of non-durable goods also fell by 0.8 percent in January following a 1.0 percent jump in the previous month. The pullback reflected steep drops in sales of alcohol, farm products, apparel, and chemicals.
With inventories climbing and sales falling, the inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers rose to 1.26 in January from 1.23 in December.