Washington: US business inventories rose modestly in March, according to a government report on Tuesday that suggested first-quarter growth would be revised lower.
The commerce department said inventories increased 0.3% to a record $1.58 trillion, after rising 0.6% in February.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast inventories rising 0.4%.
Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product and March’s report was the latest to suggest the government could lower its 2.2% growth estimate for the first quarter.
Data on wholesale and manufacturing inventories released last week indicated a slower pace of restocking in March than the government had assumed in its initial first-quarter GDP estimate published last month.
Inventories in March were held back by declining stocks for furniture and building materials. Automobile inventories rose 1.2% in March after rising 1.4% the previous month.
Inventories excluding autos, which is used to calculate GDP, ticked up 0.1% after rising 0.2% in February.
Business sales increased 0.6% to a record $1.24 trillion in March, after rising 0.7% the prior month. At March’s sales pace it will take 1.27 months for businesses to clear shelves, down from 1.28 months in February.