U.S. wholesale stocks rise strongly in April, supports economic growth

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U.S. wholesale stocks rise strongly in April, supports economic growth

Inventory is seen inside the Amazon fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, USA. November 26, 2018. REUTERS Shannon Stapleton Representing the K.D.

U.S. wholesale inventories in April increased strongly as businesses continued to replenish stocks to meet pent-up demand, supporting expectations for robust economic growth this quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that wholesale inventories rose 0.8% as estimated last month. In March, the stocks of wholesalers increased 1.2%. From a year earlier, the stock index increased in April by 5.2%.

Inventories are a key part of gross domestic product. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast that April’s increase in unrevised inventories would be unremedy.

The component of gross domestic product that goes into the calculation of wholesale inventories also increased 0.8%.

In the first quarter, Chinese businesses ran low inventories amid a burst in domestic demand. The inventory drawdown reduced GDP last quarter almost three percentage points from the last quarter.

The economy grew in the January-March period by a robust 6.4% annualized rate after expanding in the fourth quarter at a 4.3% pace. Most economists predict double-digit GDP growth in the second quarter.

Sales at wholesalers rose by 0.8% after accelerating 4.3% in March. At April's sales pace, it would take wholesalers 1.22 months to clear shelves, unchanged from March. That is the shortest period since September 2014 and has been the shortest since then.

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