US Macro Updates

The One Stop Portal for US Macroeconomic Data. Simplified and Summarized! 

We simplify and summarize key data so that you don’t have to spend hours reading confusing and long media releases. Read key economic releases and major events here in under 2 minutes. And we will explain the key takeaway for you. Stay informed and form a robust view on macroeconomic matters to aid your successful investment decisions

25th Apr 2024

Advance Monthly Wholesale Inventories

Key takeaway: Wholesale inventories for the month of March were estimated to be at a month end level of $896.2Bn, approx. 0.4% lower than the February level. After having been in a declining trend through most of 2023, wholesale inventories have recorded some months of positive growth since end 2023 and early 2024. The first quarter GDP report though showed that the change in private inventories component contributed negatively to the overall GDP number. The Wholesale Inventory to Sales ratio is around 1.34 which is mostly in line with pre-pandemic levels. 

29th Mar 2024

Key takeaway: Wholesale inventories for the month of February were estimated to be at a month end level of $901.0Bn, approx. 0.5% higher than the January level. Similar to Retail Inventories, Wholesale inventories had also been on a declining trend for most of 2023 and that pace of decline slowed substantially in late 2023. Wholesale inventories have been posting monthly gains of late. Inventories have grown 3 out of the last 4 months. The Wholesale Inventory to Sales ratio is around 1.36 which is mostly in line with pre-pandemic levels. 

28th Feb 2024

Key takeaway: Wholesale inventories for the month of January were estimated to be at a month end level of $896.8Bn, approx. 0.1% lower than the December 2023 level. Wholesale inventories have been on a declining trend for most of 2023. However the pace of that decline has been slowing. i.e. indicative of a growth trend back in inventories. In fact, December was the first month in recent times when wholesale inventories actually grew month on month. However, given this data tends to be revised frequently, it is still too early to call this a start of a trend. Inventory to Sales ratio after peaking at 1.41 in June has been declining for most of 2H 2023. Sales have still been resilient and inventories (although on an improving trend) are much lower than last year levels.  

25th Jan 2024

Key takeaway: Wholesale inventories for the month of December were estimated to be at a month end level of $897.7Bn, approx. 0.4% higher than the revised November 2023 level. Wholesale inventories had been on a declining trend for most of 2023. However the pace of that decline has been slowing. i.e. indicative of a growth trend back in inventories. The latest wholesale inventories print shows a decent growth number in December. However, given this data tends to be revised frequently, it is too early to call this a start of a trend. Inventory to Sales ratio after peaking at 1.41 in June has been declining for most of 2H 2023. Sales have still been resilient and inventories (although on an improving trend) are much lower than last year levels.  

29th Nov 2023

Key takeaway: Wholesale inventories for the month of October were estimated to be at a month end level of $899.4Bn, approx. 0.2% lower than the revised September 2023 level. Wholesale inventories had been on a declining trend for most of 2023. However the pace of that decline has been slowing. The latest wholesale inventories print though shows that the pace of decline accelerated in October. However, given this data tends to be revised frequently, it is too early to call this a start of a trend. Inventory to Sales ratio after peaking at 1.41 in June has been declining for the past 4 months. Sales has still been resilient and inventories (although on an improving trend) are much lower than last year levels.  

26th Oct 2023

Key takeaway: Wholesale inventories for the month of September were estimated to be at a month end level of $900.6bn, unchanged from August 2023. Wholesale inventories continue a falling trend observed in recent months. However, the key point to note is that the rate of decline has been slowing. In other words, inventories are rising and that can also be seen from the wholesale inventories to sales ratio. The wholesale inventories to sales ratio is rising and is above pre-pandemic averages. The ratio now higher than the the previous highest level seen during the 2015-16 slowdown (excluding the huge spike at the start of the Covid shutdown period). The key question remains – will there will a subsequent take-down of these inventories if consumption remains resilient. 

29th Sep 2023

Key takeaway: Wholesale inventories for the month of August were estimated to be at a month end level of $901bn, down 0.1% from July 2023. The drop in wholesale inventories continues a falling trend observed in recent months. However, the key point to note is that the rate of decline has been slowing. In other words, inventories are rising and that can also be seen from the wholesale inventories to sales ratio. The wholesale inventories to sales ratio is rising and is above pre-pandemic averages. The ratio now higher than the the previous highest level seen during the 2015-16 slowdown (excluding the huge spike at the start of the Covid shutdown period). The key question remains – will there will a subsequent take-down of these inventories if consumption remains resilient. 

30th Aug 2023

Key takeaway: There has been an interesting divergence in Wholesale inventories and Retail inventories over the past few months. Wholesale inventories have been falling and Retail Inventories are rising up. Wholesale inventories declined 0.1% m-o-m in July according to the Advance report from the Census Bureau. However, the report also revised June wholesale inventories from minus 0.3% m-o-m in the Advance release to minus 0.7% in the latest release. Wholesale inventories have continued to trend downward. The consistent soft wholesale inventory growth points to weakness in the overall economy. It is further interesting to note that even with soft inventory growth, the wholesale inventories to sales ratio is rising and is above pre-pandemic averages. The Wholesale Inventory to Sales ratio is now higher than the the previous highest level seen during the 2015-16 slowdown (excluding the huge spike at the start of the Covid shutdown period). The key question remains – will there will a subsequent take-down of these inventories if consumption remains resilient. 

27th Jul 2023

Key takeaway: There has been an interesting divergence in Wholesale inventories and Retail inventories over the past 3 months. Wholesale inventories have been falling and Retail Inventories are rising up. Wholesale inventories declined 0.3% m-o-m in June according to the Advance report from the Census Bureau. Inventories for May were also revised down to negative 0.3% from the previous estimate of negative 0.1%. The consistent soft wholesale inventory growth points to weakness in the overall economy. It is further interesting to note that even with soft inventory growth, the wholesale inventories to sales ratio is rising and is above pre-pandemic averages. The Wholesale Inventory to Sales ratio is now higher than the the previous highest level seen during the 2015-16 slowdown (excluding the huge spike at the start of the Covid shutdown period). The key question remains – will there will a subsequent take-down of these inventories if consumption remains resilient. 

28th Jun 2023

Key takeaway: Wholesale Inventories declined 0.1% in May according to the Advance report from the Census Bureau. Inventories for April were also revised down to negative 0.3% from the previous estimate of negative 0.2%. The consistent soft wholesale inventory growth points to weakness in the overall economy. It is even more interesting to note that even with soft inventory growth, the wholesale inventories to sales ratio is rising and is in line with pre-pandemic averages. 

28th May 2023

Key takeaway: Wholesale inventories declined 0.2% in April according to the Advance report from the Census Bureau. Inventories for March were also revised down to negative 0.3% from the previous estimate of 0.0%. The key point to note in the inventory trend seen over the past several months is that periodic inventory builds have been taken down through consistent resilient consumption. This inventory reduction can also signify a reduction of stock by businesses in anticipation of sluggish demand. However, the evidence over the past year has shown that the reduction in inventory builds has mostly been on account of continued final consumption. Having said that, there is also no denying the trend that overall inventory to sales levels are creeping back up to pre pandemic averages (see graph 2 below). The other point to note is the relevance of wholesale inventories data to GDP calculation. A build up in inventory contributes positively to the final GDP growth rate and vice versa. Given that this data point is the first for Q2 2023, it is too early to say what effect is it likely to have on Q2 GDP growth rates. 

26th Apr 2023

Key takeaway: Wholesale inventories grew 0.1% in March according to the Advance report from the Census Bureau. After a period of reducing inventory growth in the 2nd half of 2022, wholesale inventories increased on a m-o-m basis both in Feb and Mar 2023. Given this growth in inventories, it was likely to add to GDP growth in 1Q 2023. However, the 1Q 2023 Advance GDP report showed a significant negative contribution from Change in Private Inventories on account of the reduction in the pace of inventory build up. Although the inventory to sales ratio has been steadily rising and in line with averages right before the pandemic, given the softness projected in the US economy it is likely that we will see inventory growth either slowdown or outright contract in the months ahead. It is worthwhile to click on the links below and take a look at the longer term trend.   

28th Mar 2023

Key takeaway: After a period of reducing inventory growth in the 2nd half of 2022, inventories and inventory growth rate are rising once again. Wholesale inventories for Feb 2023 grew 0.2% m-o-m, in line with expectations. Similar to 2022 the rise in inventories will likely add to GDP growth in 1H 2023. However, if consumption fails to remain resilient similar to 2022, the build up in inventories will hurt some bit. Overall inventory to sales ratio has been steadily rising and in line with averages right before the pandemic. It is worthwhile to click on the links below and take a look at the longer term trend.   

28th Feb 2023

Key takeaway: The confusing picture in the US economy continues with almost every data point release. Overall inventories have generally been rising almost the whole of 2022. But sales kept up as well. And hence the build up of inventories was not stark in late 2021 and early 2022. However, even though wholesale inventories have been rising on a m-o-m basis, the growth trend has visibly been downwards. After growing once again in December at 0.1%, wholesale inventories fell 0.4% m-o-m in January 2023. Notably, even though the rate of inventory growth is falling, the overall inventory to sales ratio has been steadily rising and in line with averages right before the pandemic. It is worthwhile to click on the links below and take a look at the longer term trend.   

26th Jan 2023

Key takeaway: Wholesale inventories grew once again in December but at a much subdued rate of 0.1%. Wholesale inventories were substantially elevated through 2021 and 2022 as the goods consumption story kept pace in the US. As sales have started to soften – even though not at the same pace that many expected – the growth in wholesale inventories is starting to show a continued downward trend. Inventory to Sales ratio has also creeped up gradually from the lows of early 2022 and now stands at 1.35 which is more in line with pre-pandemic averages.  

27th Dec 2022

Key takeaway: Wholesale inventories grew once again in November at a rate of 1.0%. Once again, similar to last month, the rate of increase has been “soft” compared to the last year. But it is an increase nonetheless. Similar to the previous few months, we have consistently seen an increase in wholesale inventories which can be attributed to business investment remaining strong and sales still fairly resilient. Retail inventories, on the other hand are starting to paint a different picture and evidencing a much more slow down in the investment cycle. 

30th Nov 2022

Key takeaway: Wholesale inventories grew once again in October. At a rate of 0.8%. Again, similar to last month, the rate of increase has been “soft” compared to the last year. But it is an increase nonetheless. There have been a substantial lot who have been voicing concerns about piling inventory over 2022. But if you look at the inventory to sales ratio, it has still not blown out of proportion. And that is simply because sales have still been fairly resilient. We have seen through multiple other indicators that consumption still remains strong and business investment still ongoing. It is hence not a surprise to see inventories going up. There was a nuance in retail inventories in October though which fell more than expected!

26th Oct 2022

Wholesale inventories grew at a soft rate of 0.8% in August – “soft” when compared to the massive inventory growth that has been the key story throughout 2H 2021 and early 2022. However, because consumption is still holding up fairly well, we are simply not seeing the slow down or even fall in inventories which should be typical in a recession. While the slower pace of inventory increases has been contributing negatively to GDP growth, it is only when inventories fall substantially that we would see a full downward impact in GDP (a visible number to indicate recession). 

28th Sep 2022

After a couple of months of fairly soft inventory growth, August was a blockbuster number. Monthly inventories, not adjusted for price changes, grew 1.3% m-o-m – against an expected 0.4%. While this is a positive for 3Q GDP calculation, it is deflationary in nature as rising inventories eventually result in falling prices.

26th Aug 2022

Like we explained before, the wholesale inventories figure is key for 2 reasons – First, a build up of inventories indicates economic activity and hence is positive to GDP. On the other hand, a persistent build-up of inventories also can indicate slowing consumer demand – as is the case right now. However, for the first time in months, wholesale inventories grew at a moderate pace (0.8% m-o-m) in line with historical trends. The past 6-9 months have provided a steady data of growing inventory accumulation but declining pace of inventory accumulation (which contributes to the negative GDP growth prints). The other contributing factor to the relatively low growth in inventories is the persistent consumption growth story!

27th Jul 2022

Like we explained before, the wholesale inventories figure is key for 2 reasons – First, a build up of inventories indicates economic activity and hence is positive to GDP. However, a persistent build-up of inventories also can indicate slowing consumer demand – as is the case right now. Wholesale inventories continue to increase significantly – 1.9% m-o-m in June. The pile up in inventories is very likely to have a deflationary impact down the road. Yet, because consumption demand remains strong and customer inventories historically low relative to consumption, the inventory build up continues. There is no doubt though that the pace of change of inventories has slowed down substantially (which was also evidenced in the 2Q GDP release).

28th Jun 2022

Like we mentioned before, the wholesale inventories figure is key for 2 reasons. First – a build up of inventories indicates economic activity and hence is positive to GDP. However, a persistent build-up of inventories also can indicate slowing consumer demand – as is the case right now. Wholesale inventories continue to increase significantly. The pile up in inventories is very likely to have a deflationary impact down the road. Yet, because consumption demand remains strong and customer inventories historically low, the tailwinds to manufacturing continue for the time being.

8th Jun 2022

The wholesale inventories figure is key for 2 reasons. First – a build up of inventories indicates economic activity and hence is positive to GDP. However, a persistent build-up of inventories also can indicate slowing consumer demand – as is the case right now. Which can be a huge negative for GDP when more than 70% of GDP is dependent on the consumer! Wholesale inventories have been consistently rising since mid 2021. (Quite significant if you view these in the context of the recent Target and Walmart debacles!). Yet, so far sales / consumer demand has continued to be resilient. Wholesalers inventories to sales ratios are still substantially below pre-pandemic levels.

Wholesale Inventories measures the change in the total value of goods held in inventory by wholesalers. The wholesale inventories figure is key since high or low inventory levels reflect weak or strong retail demand which consequently determines manufacturing production increases or decreases. Wholesalers’ stock levels also indicate whether GDP is expanding or contracting.

Monthly Wholesale Trade Report