Important developments today:
1. U.S. wholesale inventories up, but sales have minor setback
U.S. wholesale inventories up, but sales have minor setback. Wholesale businesses boosted inventories for a 14th consecutive month in February, but sales at wholesale outlets, particularly of cars and furniture, declined [see Chart at http://gem or http://www.worldbank.org/gem]. The latest report from the Commerce Department showed sales at the wholesale level slipping 0.8% (m/m) in February, the first setback in sales since June 2009. Sales had increased 3.3% (m/m) in January, and a slowdown in demand was largely anticipated after a brisk fourth quarter. Inventories rose 1% and have been rising for more than a year. The string of inventory gains pushed them to $438 billion, up 13.4% from the low in September 2009. The weaker pace of sales pushed up the inventory-sales ratio from 1.14 in January to 1.16 months in February.
Among emerging markets
In Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS, Turkey's seasonally adjusted industrial output fell 1.7% (m/m) in February, compared with monthly growth of 0.5% in January. Output was up 13.9% over February 2010, and the marginal decline in production in the latest month will ease concerns of an overheating economy, which grew 9.2% in the Q4-2010.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Mozambique's economy grew 6.5% according to the International Monetary Fund, with 13.8% inflation for the year due to food and fuel costs.