U.S. February Wholesale Inventories Rise 0.9%, Sales Climb 1.2%

Inventories at U.S. wholesalers rose more than forecast in February as companies tried to keep pace with stronger demand, Bloomberg reports.

The 0.9 percent advance in stockpiles followed a 0.6 percent gain in January that was more than initially estimated, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. Economists projected a 0.5 percent rise, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Sales climbed 1.2 percent in February after no change a month earlier.

At the current sales pace, wholesalers had enough goods on hand to last 1.17 months, the same as in the prior four months, the report showed. Inventory rebuilding, which helped the economy grow in the fourth quarter at the fastest pace in more than a year, may still contribute less to the expansion in early 2012.

“Inventory growth has been running a little fast and may be a bit of a headwind” in the second quarter, Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, said before the report.

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