US business inventories just beat expectations

US business inventories rose by 0.1 per cent in May compared to the month before, slightly above analysts' expectations of no change and just short of April's revised growth of 0.2 per cent. Compared to May 2012, inventories were up 3.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, the combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturer's shipments for May (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at $1,283.5bn - up 1.1 per cent from the month before, and up 3.1 per cent from May 2012.

This put the total business inventories/sales ratio at the end of May at 1.29, slightly up from 1.28 the year before. The ratio allows investors to estimate the direction and scale of national production.

Source: US Census Bureau

The results are unlikely to be good enough to help slipping US growth forecasts, with JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Barclays all slashing their predictions last week.