WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in August, a sign that companies expect stronger demand for their products.
The Commerce Department says stockpiles rose 0.3 percent in August compared with July, when they had risen 0.4 percent.
Sales also rose, climbing 0.3 percent in August after a 0.6 percent increase in July. More restocking helps boost economic growth because it means companies are ordering more factory-made goods.
The August increase raised overall inventories to $1.67 trillion, up 3.1 percent over the past year.
Businesses had slowed stockpiling earlier this year, reflecting higher taxes and federal spending cuts that dampened their customers' spending.
Economic growth in the July-September quarter is expected to be weak. Activity in the current quarter is also likely to be held back by the partial government shutdown.
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