The inventory drawdown subtracted 2.64 percentage points from GDP growth last quarter. Still, the economy grew at a robust 6.4% annualized rate in the March-January period after expanding at a 4.3% pace in the fourth quarter. News inventories were depleted in the first quarter amid a burst in domestic demand, fueled by a reopening economy and massive fiscal stimulus. Inputs shortages at factories as well as a scarcity of workers at ports to offload imported consumer goods could make it difficult for businesses to rebuild stock. Wholesale inventories rose 1.3% in March. Stocks at manufacturers gained 0.7%.
Motor vehicle inventories plunged 6.1% as previously reported. Motor vehicle stocks are dwindling as a global semiconductor shortage weighs on auto production. Retail inventories decreased 1.4% in March as estimated in an advance report published last month. That followed a 0.1% gain in February.
Retail inventories excluding autos, which go into the calculation of GDP, increased 0.6% as estimated last month. Inventories were unchanged on a year-on-year basis in March.
Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao News sales rebounded 5.7% in March after dropping 1.6% in February. At March’s sales pace, it would take 1.23 months for businesses to clear shelves, down from 1.30 months in February.
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