Wholesale inventories fell 0.2 percent in January while sales declined 0.1 percent, a comparison that keeps stock-to-sales at a healthy 1.29 ratio. Auto inventories at the wholesale level were depleted in the month, down 3.1 percent against a 3.2 percent rise in sales which points to restocking and a gain for auto production.
Wholesale inventories have been steady as have factory inventories, though retail inventories have been less lean. Low inventories are a plus for the economy but a negative for the GDP calculation which makes today's report an early negative for first-quarter GDP. January data on February retail inventories will be posted next week with the business inventories report.