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US Wholesale Inventories Rise at Slower Pace in February, US Goods Gap Hits Record High, US PCE Price Index Rises for 3rd Month, US Personal Income Falls at Record 7.1%

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US Wholesale Inventories Rise at Slower Pace in February
Wholesale inventories in the US increased 0.5 percent from the previous month in February of 2021, following an upwardly revised 1.4 percent rise in the previous month, a preliminary estimate showed. Nondurable goods stocks rose 0.8 percent (vs 1.5 percent in January) and durable goods inventories were up 0.2 percent (vs 1.3 percent in January). On a yearly basis, wholesale inventories advanced 1.8 percent in February.

US Goods Gap Hits Record High
The goods deficit in the US widened to a record high of $86.7 billion in February of 2021 from $84.6 billion in January. Exports of goods were $130.1 billion, $5.1 billion less than January exports. Biggest decreases were seen in sales of capital goods (-5.9 percent), autos (-5.9 percent), consumer goods (-5.7 percent) and food and beverages (-5.4 percent). Imports of goods were $216.9 billion, $3.0 billion less than in the previous month, dragged down by a 10.7 percent slump in purchases of autos.

US PCE Price Index Rises for 3rd Month
The personal consumption expenditure price index in the United States went up 0.2 percent month-over-month in February of 2021, easing from a 0.3 percent rise in January. Cost of goods increased 0.3 percent, easing from a 0.6 percent advance in the previous month, while services inflation was steady at 0.2 percent. Excluding food and energy, PCE prices edged up 0.1 percent, slowing from a 0.2 percent. Year-on-year, the PCE price index advanced 1.6 percent, the biggest gain in a year as energy cost increased; and the core index increased 1.4 percent.

US Personal Income Falls at Record 7.1%
Personal income in the US declined 7.1 percent month-over-month in February of 2021, down from an upwardly revised 10.1 percent jump in January and compared to market expectations of a 7.3 percent drop. It is the biggest fall on record reflecting a decrease in government social benefits to persons. Within government social benefits, “other” social benefits, specifically the economic impact payments to households, decreased. The CRRSA Act authorized a round of direct economic impact payments that were mostly distributed in January.

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