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Wholesale inventories grow as sales fall

Sales for December fell 0.7% while inventories increased 1.1%. Economists had expected both to grow.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- December Wholesale inventories increased 1.1% and sales fell 0.7% from November, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Friday.

Economists polled by Thomson financial had expected inventories to grow by only 0.3% and sales to increase by 0.5%.

According to the Census Bureau, inventories were worth about $411.6 billion. Inventories of motor vehicles and auto parts were up 3.5%, and commodity inventories, with the exception of petroleum, were up 1.7%. Inventories of oil-based products grew 9.2%.

Wholesalers sold $376.6 billion in total goods during December. Sales of durable goods fell 2%. The biggest decline was in electronics and computer sales. Sales of non-durable goods increased by 0.4%.

December's wholesale inventories/sales ratio, according to the Census Bureau, was 1.09.

The Bureau plans to revise its numbers based on its Annual Wholesale Trade Survey. Those revised numbers are scheduled for release on March 27th. To top of page

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