US: Wholesale Trade

August 26, 2016 07:30 CDT

Actual Previous Revised
Inventories - M/M change 0.0% 0.3% 0.2%

Wholesales inventories are unchanged in the preliminary reading for July following a 0.2 percent build in June. Retail inventories fell 0.4 percent in July vs a 0.3 percent build in June. These results point to the need for inventory rebuilding and are a positive for the economic outlook.

Wholesale trade measures the dollar value of sales made and inventories held by merchant wholesalers. It is a component of business sales and inventories.

Investors need to monitor the economy closely because it usually dictates how various types of investments will perform. The stock market likes to see healthy economic growth because that translates to higher corporate profits. The bond market prefers a slower rate of growth that won't lead to inflationary pressures. Wholesale sales and inventory data give investors a chance to look below the surface of the visible consumer economy. Activity at the wholesale level can be a precursor for consumer trends. In particular, by looking at the ratio of inventories to sales, investors can see how fast production will grow in coming months. For example, if inventory growth lags sales growth, then manufacturers will need to boost production lest product shortages occur. On the other hand, if unintended inventory accumulation occurs (i.e. sales did not meet expectations), then production will probably have to slow while those inventories are worked down. In this manner, the inventory data provide a valuable forward-looking tool for tracking the economy.