US business activity

LONDON: Excess inventories at every stage along the supply chain are weighing down business activity as well as depressing freight demand and diesel consumption in the United States. Businesses have made little progress in reversing the unwanted build up in inventories that occurred during the second half of 2014 and early 2015. Stocks of finished items, raw materials and work progress held by manufacturers, distributors and retailers were $28 billion or 1.6 per cent higher at end of November than same month a year earlier. Sales were down $37 billion or 2.8 per cent, according to US Census Bureau. — Reuters