We haven't shown this chart in quite a while because it was behaving better, reflecting a better wholesale economy in the USA where Sales were increasing faster than Inventories were building...a good sign.
After the ratio spiked (meaning inventories were building faster than sales) in 2015 and 2016, it began to decline (meaning sales were faster than inventory building). The peak in the ratio back in 2015 and 2016 was at or near recession levels like we had seen back in the recessions of 2000/2001 and 2008/2009 (note the peaks in the ratio during those recessionary periods).
But as the decline in the ratio started falling in 2016, it was showing an improved economic situation. Nonetheless, we did not ignore it and watched it every month when published. Today, we watched for sure, as the ratio started moving higher, once again. No need to sound alarm bells but worth paying closer attention to over the next two months of releases to see if this is just a blip or if sales are really declining quickly to reflect renewed economic weakness.
Here it is over the longer term:
And here it is over the past year for a shorter-term perspective. It was showing relatively flat growth since January 2017 (which is ok but not great) but then showed a bit of a spike up in May 2017.
May very well be nothing but we will watch it more closely over the next couple of months and, put it into the mix, along with some of our other metrics, to asses overall market risk.