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US wholesale inventories unexpectedly fall in December

US wholesale inventories unexpectedly fell 0.8% in December, while sales rose 0.8%, a government report showed on Tuesday.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected inventories to rise 0.5% and sales to surge 1%. November's inventories rise was revised up to 1.6% from the previously reported 1.5%, and the increase in sales was revised up to 3.6% from 3.3%.

Last month, the Commerce Department reported that the US economy grew at a 5.7% rate in the fourth quarter, its fastest pace in more than six years, the result of companies drawing down their stocks more slowly.

But the lift that restocking inventories gave to the country's gross domestic product is expected to fade over time. (Reuters)