U.S. business inventories rose less than expected in December, supporting views that fourth-quarter growth was slower than initially thought.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday business inventories nudged up 0.1 percent after an unrevised 0.2 percent increase in November.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast inventories rising 0.2 percent in December.
Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product. Retail inventories excluding autos, which go into the calculation of GDP, ticked up 0.1 percent in December. That followed a similar gain in November.
The government estimated last month that inventories added 0.8 percentage point to the economy’s annualized 2.6 percent growth pace in the fourth quarter.
But with December manufacturing and wholesale inventory data recently coming in below the government’s assumptions, economists expect that contribution could be lowered by at least five-tenths of a percentage point.
In addition, the trade deficit in December was larger than the government’s estimates.
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