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US wholesale inventories rebound strongly in November

[WASHINGTON] US wholesale inventories rose slightly more than initially estimated in November, suggesting that inventory investment will probably contribute to economic growth in the fourth quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that wholesale inventories rebounded 0.8 per cent after dropping 0.4 per cent in October. The department reported last month that wholesale inventories jumped 0.7 per cent in November.

The component of wholesale inventories that goes into the calculation of gross domestic product - wholesale stocks excluding autos - also increased 0.8 per cent in November.

Inventory investment contributed almost eight-tenths of a percentage point to the economy's 3.2 per cent annualized growth pace in the third quarter. Inventory investment accelerated in the third quarter after slowing sharply at the start of 2017.

Auto inventories increased 0.7 per cent in November, reversing October's 0.7 per cent drop. There were also increases in inventories of petroleum, machinery and electrical goods.

Sales at wholesalers shot up 1.5 per cent in November after increasing 0.8 per cent in October. Sales of motor vehicles rose 1.2 per cent in November after jumping 3.4 per cent the prior month.

At November's sales pace it would take wholesalers 1.24 months to clear shelves, the fewest since November 2014, down from 1.25 months in October.