Rail Week Ending 12 January 2013: Four Week Rolling Average At Low Levels

January 18th, 2013
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: Week 02 of 2013 ending January 12 shows same week total rail traffic well below 2012 levels according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).  The four week moving average of total same week rail traffic is well below any levels seen in the last few years.

  • The carload portion of rail traffic showed same week traffic contracted 6.4% (versus last week's -12.1%).
  • Excluding coal and grain (which are not an economic indicator), rail carloads expanded at 3.6% (last week -4.5%) same week year-over-year.
  • Intermodal same week traffic expanded 10.4% (versus last week's -8.0%)
  • Total same week rail traffic contracted 6.1% (versus last week's -12.1%)

USA coal production is down 12.0 % same week year-over-year, and the cumulative effect on rail carloads continues to drag traffic down.

Follow up:

Thirteen of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, with petroleum products, up 47.7 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 17.5 percent, and lumber and wood products, up 15.5 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included iron and steel scrap, down 22.1 percent; metallic ores, down 18.6 percent, and coal, down 16 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 -6.4% 10.4% -6.1%
This week without coal and grain
Year Cumulative to Date -9.1% 1.9% -8.7%


[click on graph below to enlarge]

Current Rail Chart

/images/z rail1.png


/images/z rail2.PNG

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

From EIA.gov:

For the week ended January 12, 2013:

  • U.S. coal production totaled approximately 19.2 million short tons (mmst)
  • This production estimate is 5.2 percent higher than last week's estimate and 12.0 percent lower than the production estimate in the comparable week in 2012
  • Coal production east of the Mississippi River totaled 8.4 mmst
  • Coal production west of the Mississippi River totaled 10.8 mmst
  • U.S. year-to-date coal production totaled 32.8 mmst, 14.9 percent lower than the comparable year-to-date coal production in 2012
  • As of week ending December 15, third quarter 2012 production estimates have been revised to match actual third quarter 2012 Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) production. These revised values can be found under the "Revisons/Archives" section, and are also included in any year to date totals and 52 weeks ended totals in the "Current Weekly Estimates" and "Current Monthly Estimates" data tables. The "1st week in 2002- current week" and "January 2002- current month" original estimates spreadsheets are not revised.
  • Source: AAR

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