Econintersect: Week 27 of 2012 ending 07 July 2012 shows same week rail traffic declined over 2011 levels according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Excluding coal and grain which is not an economic indicator, rail is expanding 3.8% (last week's reported 2.7% for coal alone) same week year-over-year.
“Seven of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 54.8 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, up 52.7 percent, and food and kindred products, up 11.1 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included iron and steel scrap, down 29.6 percent; primary forest products, down 24.1 percent, and farm products excluding grain, down 23.6 percent.”
A good background article on the switch of the power generating plants from coal to natural gas was published 30May2012 in the NYT. The week before GEI News had reported on the decline in coal usage over the past year. For background why Econintersect added grain, please see June 2012 Rail Movements: A Good Month.
The majority of the reason for rail year-to-date contraction is coal and grain movements - which would only effect the profitability of railroads, and not 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 Year-over-Year||-1.0%||5.6%||-0.4%|
|This week without coal and grain
|Year Cumulative to Date||-2.8%||3.4%||-2.0%|
Total (cumulative) year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.