U.S. wholesale inventories unexpectedly rose in October for the first time in more than a year, a government report showed on Wednesday, suggesting that the drawing down of unsold goods was nearing an end and pointing to economic recovery.
The Commerce Department said total wholesale inventories rose 0.3 percent, snapping a 13-month declining trend. September's figures were revised to show a 0.8 percent decline, previously reported as a 0.9 percent fall.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected stocks of unsold goods at U.S. wholesalers to fall 0.5 percent.
A moderation in the rate at which businesses are drawing down inventories contributed to economic growth in the July-September period, the first expansion after four straight quarters of decline.
Analysts reckon slower inventory liquidation and restocking will support the economy's recovery in the coming quarters.
Sales at wholesalers rose by a more-than-expected 1.2 percent in October, the seventh straight monthly increase, after rising by a revised 1.3 percent the previous month. September sales were previously reported as 0.7 percent higher. Analysts had expected sales at wholesalers to rise 0.7 percent in October.
The rise in sales lowered the inventory-to-sales ratio, a measure of how long it would take to sell stocks at the current sales pace, to 1.16 months' worth from September's 1.17 months.
The ratio has declined for seven straight months, and in October was the lowest since a matching 1.16 in August 2008.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)