Wholesale trade measures the dollar value of sales made and inventories held by merchant wholesalers. It is a component of business sales and inventories.
Wholesale sales and inventory data give investors a hint as to where the consumer economy might be headed as it can be a precursor to consumer trends. For example, by analyzing the ratio of inventories to sales, investors can see how fast production will grow in coming months. Likewise, if unintended inventory accumulation occurs (i.e. sales did not meet expectations), then production will likely slow while those inventories are worked down.
Wholesale Inventories in February On Monday, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the following new wholesale trade statistics for February 2023:
- February 2023 sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, were $669.5 billion, up 0.4% from the revised January level.
- This is up 1.3% from the revised February 2022 level.
- The December 2022 to January 2023 percent change was revised from the Monthly Wholesale Annual Revision Report of up 0.9% to up 0.4%.
- Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, were $919.2 billion at the end of February, up 0.1% from the revised January level.
- Total inventories were up 12.0% from the revised February 2022 level.
- The January 2023 to February 2023 percent change was revised from up 0.2% to up 0.1%.
- The February inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, was 1.37.
- The February 2022 ratio was 1.24.
More Data Later This Week
More economic data will be released later this week, including CPI and MBA Mortgage Applications on Wednesday; Jobless Claims and PPI-Final Demand on Thursday; and Retail Sales, Business Inventories, Industrial Production and Consumer Sentiment on Friday.