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U.S. business inventories rise in August, may support third-quarter GDP

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. business inventories rose as expected in August, suggesting restocking could provide a lift to third-quarter economic growth.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday inventories increased 0.3 percent after rising 0.4 percent in July.

August's increase in inventories was in line with economists' expectations.

Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product changes. Retail inventories, excluding autos - which go into the calculation of GDP - increased 0.3 percent after advancing 0.8 percent in July.

Businesses have been wary of ramping up stock accumulation after consumer spending slowed in the second quarter but they now appear to be stocking up for the holiday season.

Business sales rose 0.3 percent in August after increasing 0.6 percent the prior month. At August's sales pace, it would take 1.29 months for businesses to clear shelves, unchanged from July.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Krista Hughes)