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Business inventories in the U.S. increased in line with economist estimates in the month of February, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday.

The Commerce Department said business inventories climbed by 0.5 percent in February after rising by an upwardly revised 0.4 percent in January.

Economists had expected business inventories to increase by 0.5 percent compared to the 0.3 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.

The increase in business inventories came as manufacturing and wholesale inventories rose by 0.8 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, while retail inventories came in unchanged.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said business sales tumbled by 1.9 percent in February after spiking by 4.5 percent in January.

Retail sales plummeted by 2.8 percent, manufacturing sales plunged by 2.0 percent and wholesale sales fell by 0.8 percent.

With inventories rising and sales slumping, the total business inventories/sales ratio climbed to 1.30 in February from 1.27 in January.


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