U.S. business inventories rose slightly more than expected in November and figures for the prior month were revised higher, suggesting that an anticipated drag from inventory investment on economic growth in the fourth quarter would be modest.
The Commerce Department said on Friday business inventories increased 0.4 percent. October data was revised to show inventories unchanged instead of the previously reported 0.1 percent dip.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast inventories, a key component of gross domestic product, rising 0.3 percent in November. Retail inventories rose 0.1 percent in November as
previously reported in an advance report last month. Retail inventories were unchanged in October.
Motor vehicle inventories were unchanged as previously reported after falling 0.7 percent in October. Retail inventories excluding autos, which go into the calculation of GDP, increased 0.2 percent as reported last month. They rose 0.4 percent in October.
Inventory investment contributed almost eight-tenths of a percentage point to the economy’s 3.2 percent annualized growth pace in the third quarter. Inventory investment accelerated in the third quarter after slowing sharply at the start of 2017.
Business sales surged 1.2 percent in November after rising 0.8 percent in October. At November’s sales pace, it would take 1.33 months for businesses to clear shelves, the fewest since November 2014, down from 1.34 months in October.