The Census Bureau Advance Economic Reports show wholesale and retail inventories each rose 0.4%. This inventory build will likely add a couple of ticks to GDP estimates but sales haven’t matched.
The trade deficit shrank in February but not because of export strength. Both exports and imports were negative for the month. Exports fell less.
Advance International Trade in Goods
The international trade deficit was $64.8 billion in February, down $4.1 billion from $68.8 billion in January. Exports of goods for February were $126.8 billion, $0.1 billion less than January exports. Imports of goods for February were $191.6 billion, $4.2 billion less than January imports.
Advance Wholesale Inventories
Wholesale inventories for February, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $594.1 billion, up 0.4 percent from January 2017, and were up 3.2 percent from February 2016. The December 2016 to January 2017 percentage change was revised from down 0.3 percent (±0.2 percent) to down 0.2 percent.
Advance Retail Inventories
Retail inventories for February, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $616.1 billion, up 0.4 percent from January 2017, and were up 3.9 percent (±0.4 percent) from February 2016. The December 2016 to January 2017 percentage change was revised from up 0.8 percent to up 0.9 percent (±0.2 percent).
No Consumer Strength
The decline in imports adds to weakening consumer spending outlook especially with the auto sector already rolling over.
Treasury yields are lower again today, another sign of a weakening economy. The yield on the 30-year long bond dipped below 3% several days ago and now sits at 2.97%
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Mike “Mish” Shedlock