Business inventories fall flat of expectations

A warehouse of processed soybeans ready for shipment at Peterson Farms Seed facility in Fargo, North Dakota.

U.S. business inventories saw no improvement in March, falling short of economists’ predictions.

The Commerce Department’s measure of business production remained flat in March at $1,929.6 billion. It was expected to gain 0.1 percent, a survey of Reuters economists forecast. Inventories were up 3.8 percent from the prior year.

The key technical indicator, based on data from three trade and manufacturing surveys, rose 0.6 percent in February.

The ratio of inventories to sales in March was 1.34, short of the 1.38 ratio from the prior year.

The Manufacturing and Trade Inventories and Sales survey adds up the value of trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments. The measure helps track and make predictions about near-term business production activity.