Rail Week Ending 07 December 2013: Data Is Mixed

December 13th, 2013
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: Week 49 of 2013 ending 07 November shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) was mixed according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Railcar count was down, and intermodal count was up. Weekly overall data is up, but down ignoring coal and grain.

Again, this data is likely corrupted by the effects of Thanksgiving (which was a week earlier last year). Last week the AAR released some terrible data as it compared a non-Thanksgiving week 2012 data against a Thanksgiving week 2013 data. This has distorted the rolling averages. Next weeks data should be comparable,

Follow up:

  • Four week rolling average rate of growth (compared with the average one year ago) is decelerating, but is better than the 4 week rolling average one year ago;
  • 13 week rolling average rate of growth (compared with the average one year ago) is accelerating, and is better than the 13 week rolling average one year ago;
  • 52 week rolling average rate of growth (compared with the average one year ago) is decelerating, but better than the 52 week rolling average one year ago.

It will take several weeks before the this distortion will work its way out of the data so one can understand the underlying trends.

A summary of the data from the AAR:

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Dec. 7, 2013 with 279,213 total U.S. carloads, down 4.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 262,765 units, up 9.4 percent compared with the same week last year.  Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 541,978 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.8 percent compared with the same week last year.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, including petroleum and petroleum products with 14,831 carloads, up 18.6 percent; and grain with 20,560 carloads, up 10.4 percent. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included coal with 104,994 carloads, down 13.3 percent.

For the first 49 weeks of 2013, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 13,808,713 carloads, down 0.6 percent from the same point last year, and 12,135,679 intermodal units, up 4.4 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 49 weeks of 2013 was 25,944,392 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.7 percent from last year.

USA coal production is down 6.5% same week year-over-year - and coal accounts for almost half of carloads.

This Week
Carloads Intermodal Total
This week Year-over-Year -4.4% -9.4% 1.8%
Ignoring coal and grain -0.3%
Year Cumulative to Date -0.6% 4.4% 1.7%

[click on graph below to enlarge]

Current Rail Chart

/images/z rail1.png

From EIA.gov:

For the week ended December 07, 2013:

  • U.S. coal production totaled approximately 18.4 million short tons (mmst)
  • This production estimate is 3.4 percent lower than last week's estimate and 6.5 percent lower than the production estimate in the comparable week in 2012
  • Coal production east of the Mississippi River totaled 8.0 mmst
  • Coal production west of the Mississippi River totaled 10.3 mmst
  • U.S. year-to-date coal production totaled 938.2 mmst, 1.9 percent lower than the comparable year-to-date coal production in 2012
  • Source: AAR

     

     















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