15 October 2001, 16:32  US Aug business inventories down 0.1 pct; sales up 0.1 pct

WASHINGTON (AFX) - Business inventories were down 0.1 pct in August, while business sales rose 0.1 pct, the Commerce Department said. This is the seventh straight monthly decline in business inventories. The fall in inventories was slightly smaller than expected. The consensus forecast of Wall Street economists was for inventories to drop 0.2 pct in August. Inventories fell a revised 0.5 pct in July, bigger than the previous estimate of a 0.4 pct fall. Sales rose 0.4 pct in July, unchanged from the previous estimate. The combination of inventories to sales produced an inventories-to-sales ratio of 1.42, meaning it would take 1.42 months to exhaust the inventory backlog at the August sales pace. This is unchanged from July. Year on year, inventories were down 1.1 pct, while sales were down 1.8 pct. Manufacturing inventories fell 0.7 pct in August, following a 0.8 pct fall in July. Retail inventories rose 0.6 pct, after rising 0.1 pct in July. Excluding autos, retail inventories rose 0.6 pct, after a 0.4 pct drop. Auto inventories were up 0.6 pct, after a 1.1 pct rise. Wholesale inventories were down 0.1 pct in August, following a 0.9 pct drop the previous month.

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