WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - After reporting sharp increases in U.S. wholesale inventories in the two previous months, the Commerce Department released a report on Wednesday showing inventories rose by less than expected in the month of February.
The Commerce Department said wholesale inventories edged up by 0.2 percent in February after surging up by 1.2 percent in January. Economists had expected inventories to climb by 0.5 percent.
Inventories of durable goods inched up by 0.1 percent, as notable increases in inventories of furniture and machinery were offset by steep drops in inventories of computer equipment, lumber, and metals.
The report said inventories of non-durable goods rose by 0.3 percent, reflecting spikes in inventories of drugs and apparel as well as slumps in inventories of farm products, chemicals and petroleum.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said wholesale sales increased by 0.3 percent in February after climbing by 0.5 percent in January.
Sales of non-durable goods rose by 0.4 percent amid jumps in sales of farm products, chemicals, and petroleum, while sales of durable goods crept up by 0.1 percent despite a steep drop in lumber sales.
With inventories and sales both rising, the inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers was unchanged from the previous month at 1.35.
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