May 18th, 2012
Econintersect: Week 19 of 2012 ending 12 May 2012 shows rail traffic is still below 2011 levels according to data released by the American Association of Railroads (AAR). However, excluding coal which is not an economic indicator, rail is expanding 3.3% year-over-year.
“Ten of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 49 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, up 35.7 percent, and lumber and wood products, up 20.3 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included coal, down 16.2 percent; nonmetallic minerals, down 15.4 percent, and grain, down 11.4 percent. ”
The pattern in the data is the same as it has been for over recent months. The majority of the reason for the contraction is coal movements - which would only effect the profitability of railroads, and not really an economic indicator as coal is an alternative fuel to oil and natural gas - U.S. production of those are up sharply in recent months. This week rail growth was strongly positive when coal was removed from the calculation
|This week Year-over-Year||-5.2%||3.1%||-3.9%|
|This week without coal
|Year Cumulative to Date||-3.3%||2.8%||-2.4%|
Note that the total year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.