A measure of US wholesale trade rose more than initially thought in April, data on Friday showed, although it was still the weakest gain in six months.

The US Census Bureau’s measure of wholesale inventories climbed 0.1 per cent in April from the previous month to $603.2bn, against expectations for inventories to remain unchanged.

That was better than previously thought, with the preliminary report suggesting inventories were unchanged but remained the weakest since October.

The report also showed wholesale auto inventories rose 0.4 per cent in April, following a 0.1 per cent increase in March.

Meanwhile, sales of merchant wholesalers were up 0.8 per cent month-on-month, exceeding forecasts for a 0.3 per cent increase and rising for the third consecutive month.

Weak wholesale inventory investment has in the past proved a drag on the US economy, but if consumer spending remains healthy wholesalers could stock up once more.

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