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US business inventories rebound in April

[WASHINGTON] US business inventories rebounded in April, but a slight downward revision to retail stocks excluding motor vehicles suggested inventory investment's contribution to second-quarter economic growth could be modest.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday business inventories increased 0.3 per cent after slipping 0.1 per cent in March. Business inventories were previously reported to have been unchanged in March.

April's rise in inventories, which are a key component of gross domestic product, was in line with economists' expectations. Retail inventories increased 0.5 per cent in April instead of gaining 0.6 percent as reported in an advance estimate published last month.

Retail inventories fell 0.7 per cent in March.

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Motor vehicle inventories rose 0.7 per cent in April and not 0.6 per cent as reported last month. Auto inventories declined 0.9 per cent in March.

Retail inventories excluding autos, which go into the calculation of GDP, increased 0.4 per cent in April rather than the previously reported 0.5 percent rise. They fell 0.6 per cent in March.

Inventory investment added just over one-tenth of a percentage point to the economy's 2.2 per cent annualized growth pace during the January-March period. Economists expect the pace of inventory accumulation to remain moderate in the second quarter.

Business sales rose 0.4 per cent in April after increasing 0.6 per cent in March. At April's sales pace, it would take 1.35 months for businesses to clear shelves, unchanged from March.

REUTERS