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Recession Alarm: Wholesale Sales Plunge, Worst Since Lehman

For the first time since Lehman, Wholesale Trade Sales dropped for a 3rd month in a row in January. Plunging 3.1% MoM (against -0.5% expectations), this is the biggest drop since March 2009. Excluding auto sales, wholesale sales fell 3.5%. Wholesale inventories rose 0.3% (beating expectations) with only a very modest -0.1% drag from oil. This has sent the inventory-to-sales ratio soaring as the "Field Of Dreams" economy is back - but as one wise trader noted, we are now 10bps higher in inventory/sales than when we entered the recession in Dec 2007.

Worst run since Lehman...



Inventory to Sales is soaring, courtesy of @Not_Jim_Cramer


But the punchline is the following chart in the annual change on Wholesale Trade Sales. It really does not need much explanation:


It certainly puts the chart of the Factory Orders in much better context: