The advance report on international trade in goods only in August put the deficit at $72.8 billion, not much different from the $72.5 billion in July. This hints that net exports may exert a little less drag for the third quarter, although these numbers do not include services. There will be a fuller look at the trade balance in August with the release of the full report on Friday, October 4 at 8:30 ET.
The advance report on inventories for retailers and merchant wholesalers for August showed levels were flat and up 0.4%, respectively.
Retail got a strong increase of 0.7% in July when stores acted to stock up in advance of the holiday season and the imposition of punitive tariffs that might interfere with having sufficient stocks on hand. The pause in August was to be expected.
Wholesalers added stocks in August, possibly to play a bit of catch up after some slower activity in the prior two months. Many businesses are adding inventories only cautiously and sporadically until it is clear the US economy is going to weather its present slowdown or not.
In any case, for the third quarter as a whole, the change in private inventories may not be much of a contributor to growth. The data on factory inventories will be reported on Thursday, October 3 at 10:00 ET with the full complement and revisions to be released on Wednesday, October 16 at 10:00 ET.
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