Rail Traffic Slightly Positive for w/e 10 September 2011

September 15th, 2011
in econ_news

Econintersect:  Although rail counts continue to flirt with contraction, a positive growth this week was able to bring much of the data positive except for the four week rolling average which remains slightly negative.

Weekly rail traffic has contracted three times year-over-year since August.  In week 36 of 2011 ending 10 September 2011, there was a modest 0.3% increase over the same week one year ago according to rail data provided by Railfax.

Rail performance year to date for 2011 has been in an overall downtrend. The four week trendline was holding steady between 3% to 4% year-over-year improvement until the last weeks in June. Now the 4 week average became negative at a 0.1% decline year-over-year. Econintersect believes low growth over 2010 is an economic warning that a recession is possible.

Follow up:

The major weakness comes from coal transport which the 4 week average now has improved to a negative 0.9% year-over-year.   Coal is a major portion of rail car loadings.  Coal is a commodity which can be substituted for other sources of energy - and the lower counts are not necessarily indicative of a contracting economy.  On the other hand, intermodal transport is a good economic indicator - the 4 week average has declined to a negative 0.1% year-over-year, but the week-to-week comparisons are positive this week after being negative for the previous two weeks.

Year-to-date gains have fallen from 3.6% to 3.5%.

Total US Rail Traffic

Major Commodity Groups Total Grain Chemicals Food Forest Metals Coal Autos Intermodal
Current Week
Vs. 2010 0.3% (17.7%) 2.9% (9.8%) 1.1% 2.0% 0.8% 7.3% 0.6%
Vs. 2009 10.9% (2.8%) 12.5% (1.2%) 6.0% 34.4% 0.4% 7.5% 18.8%
4 Week Rolling Avg.
Vs. 2010 (0.1%) (19.4%) 2.8% (2.2%) 2.7% 8.2% (0.9%) 9.5% (0.1%)
Vs. 2009 11.3% (8.3%) 9.1% 1.5% 6.7% 37.1% 0.8% 16.6% 18.8%
Quarter to Date
Vs. 2010 0.0% (12.6%) 3.7% (1.9%) 2.9% 9.9% (3.6%) 8.0% 0.8%
Vs. 2009 10.7% (5.9%) 9.7% (0.7%) 6.0% 39.2% (2.9%) 19.6% 19.3%
Year to Date
Vs. 2010 3.5% 2.3% 4.9% (2.7%) 3.5% 8.6% (0.6%) 7.4% 5.7%
Vs. 2009 14.0% 15.6% 15.5% 0.4% 7.1% 54.6% (1.3%) 39.4% 21.0%

 

 

 

source: Railfax

 










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