Rail Week Ending 17 November 2012: Continues to Show Moderate Economic Growth

November 22nd, 2012
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: Week 46 of 2012 ending 17 November shows same week total rail traffic was below 2011 levels according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

  • The carload portion of rail traffic showed same week traffic contracted 4.3% (versus last week's -5.4%).
  • Excluding coal and grain (which are not an economic indicator), rail carloads expanded at 3.1% (last week +4.9%) same week year-over-year.
  • Intermodal same week traffic expanded 2.4% (versus last week's +1.9%)
  • Total same week traffic rail traffic contracted 3.0% (versus last week's -3.0%)

USA coal production is down 10.7% same week year-over-year (see below).

Follow up:

Eight of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 54.2 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, up 16.3 percent, and primary forest products, up 14.8 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included metallic ores, down 15.8 percent; grain, down 13.4 percent, and nonmetallic minerals, down 12.4 percent.

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.


This Week
Carloads Intermodal Total
This week Year-over-Year -4.3% 2.4% -3.4%
This week without coal and grain
Year Cumulative to Date -3.0% 3.4% -2.3%


Current Rail Chart


Total (cumulative) year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.

From EIA.gov:

For the week ended November 10, 2012:
  • U.S. coal production totaled approximately 19.6 million short tons (mmst)
  • This production estimate is 0.9 percent higher than last week's estimate and 10.7 percent lower than the production estimate in the comparable week in 2011
  • Coal production east of the Mississippi River totaled 8.3 mmst
  • Coal production west of the Mississippi River totaled 11.2 mmst
  • U.S. year-to-date coal production totaled 880.7 mmst, 6.3 percent lower than the comparable year-to-date coal production in 2011
  • As of the week ending September 15, 2012, all of 2011 production has been revised to match the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) final 2011 production and second quarter 2012 production has been revised to match MSHA production. These changes are present in the Revisions/Archives section, and are also reflected in the "Current Weekly Estimates" and "Current Monthly Estimates" tables in the year-to-date and 52 weeks ended totals. These changes are not reflected in the two Original Estimates tables.

    Steven Hansen

    Source: AAR

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