U.S. Wholesale Inventories Grew 0.2% in March

By Sarah Chaney and Josh MitchellFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

U.S. wholesalers restocked at a modest pace at the end of the first quarter.

Wholesale inventories grew a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in March from the prior month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a 0.1% decline.

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Meanwhile sales were flat in March. The ratio of inventories to sales dropped to 1.28 in March from 1.35 a year earlier.

For the first quarter overall, inventory investment was weak, a big factor behind the economy's sluggish growth over the winter. Economic output grew 0.7%, at an annual rate, in January through March, the Commerce Department reported last month. But with consumer spending expected to pick up this spring, wholesalers are expected to restock at a quicker pace in the second quarter, in turn boosting output.

Write to Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com and Josh Mitchell at joshua.mitchell@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 09, 2017 10:23 ET (14:23 GMT)