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US business inventories held by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers, climbed in January but at a slower pace than the previous month.

Business inventories rose 0.3 per cent in January in line with economists’ estimates but expanded at their slowest pace since October the Census Bureau said on Wednesday. That followed 0.4 per cent rise the previous month.

Retail inventories rose 0.8 per cent driven by autos, however stripping those out, they were unchanged from December. Meanwhile inventories at manufacturers rose 0.2 per cent. Those at merchant wholesalers fell 0.2 per cent.

Rising inventories are considered to signal business optimism and boost GDP.

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