econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 06 January 2017

Rail Week Ending 31 December 2016: Rail Down 5% for the Year

Week 51 of 2016 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) improved according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data.

Analyst Opinion of the Rail Data

We review this data set to understand the economy. If coal and grain are removed from the analysis, rail over the last 6 months been declining around 5% - but this week improved 4.2%.

This week's data is a slight outlier caused by week 52 this year being entirely between Christmas and New Years (a low volume period) - and last year week 52's beginning was before Christmas (included some higher volume days). But the monthly data would be little affected and it is expanding.

The question is: Is the year long contraction in rail over? It may be.

This analysis is looking for clues in the rail data to show the direction of economic activity - and is not necessarily looking for clues of profitability of the railroads. The weekly data is fairly noisy, and the best way to view it is to look at the rolling averages (carloads and intermodal combined).

Percent current rolling average is larger than the rolling average of one year ago Current quantities accelerating or decelerating Current rolling average accelerating or decelerating compared to the rolling average one year ago
4 week rolling average +0.3 % decelerating accelerating
13 week rolling average -1.4 % decelerating accelerating
52 week rolling average -6.2 % accelerating accelerating

A summary of the data from the AAR:

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported weekly U.S. rail traffic, as well as volumes for December 2016 and all of 2016.

Carload traffic in December totaled 973,642 carloads, up 2.8 percent or 26,147 carloads from December 2015. U.S. railroads also originated 1,011,870 containers and trailers in December 2016, up 11.2 percent or 102,215 units from the same month last year. For December 2016, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 1,985,512, up 6.9 percent or 128,362 carloads and intermodal units from December 2015.

In December 2016, 13 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with December 2015. These included: coal, up 4.2 percent or 13,360 carloads; grain, up 10.5 percent or 8,663 carloads; and chemicals, up 3.9 percent or 4,599 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in December 2016 from December 2015 included: petroleum and petroleum products, down 17.4 percent or 8,568 carloads; crushed stone, gravel and sand, down 4.1 percent or 2,889 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, down 5.9 percent or 1,265 carloads.

Excluding coal, carloads were up 2 percent or 12,787 carloads in December 2016 from December 2015.

Total U.S. carload traffic for 2016 was 13,096,860 carloads, down 8.2 percent or 1,169,152 carloads, while intermodal containers and trailers were 13,490,491 units, down 1.6 percent or 220,171 containers and trailers when compared to 2015. In 2016, total rail traffic volume in the United States was 26,587,351 carloads and intermodal units, down 5 percent or 1,389,323 carloads and intermodal units from the same point last year.

"Last year was challenging for freight railroads," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. "Rail carloads were down for the second consecutive year, due mainly to a weak manufacturing economy and turmoil in energy markets, while intermodal failed to set its fourth straight annual record. That said, there are signs that the economy may be gradually returning to a period of growth."

Week Ending December 31, 2016

Total U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending December 31, 2016 was 425,998 carloads and intermodal units, up 7.7 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending December 31 were 215,967 carloads, up 4 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 210,031 containers and trailers, up 11.8 percent compared to 2015.

Coal is over 1/3 of the total railcar count, and this week the EIA says coal production is 27.7 % higher than the production estimate in the comparable week in 2015.

The middle row in the table below removes coal and grain from the changes in the railcar counts as neither of these commodities is economically intuitive.

This Week Carloads Intermodal Total
This week Year-over-Year +4.0 % +11.8 % +7.7 %
Ignoring coal and grain +4.2 %
Year Cumulative to Date -8.2 % -1.6 % -5.0 %

[click on graph below to enlarge]

Current Rail Chart:

z rail1.png

For the week ended December 31, 2016

  • Estimated U.S. coal production totaled approximately 15.2 million short tons (mmst)
  • This production estimate is 3.1% lower than last week's estimate and 27.7% higher than the production estimate in the comparable week in 2015
  • East of the Mississippi River coal production totaled 5.8 mmst
  • West of the Mississippi River coal production totaled 9.4 mmst
  • U.S. year-to-date coal production totaled 726.3 mmst, 18% lower than the comparable year-to-date coal production in 2015

Coal production from EIA.gov

Steven Hansen



>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<



Permanent link to most recent post on this topic

Click here for Historical Releases Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.



You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.







Econintersect Economic Releases


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
The Destruction of the Existing Workforce
Finance and Growth: The Direction of Causality
News Blog
The Rise Of Music Streaming Continues
60% Of Primate Species Now Threatened With Extinction, Says Major New Study
Most Attendees At Davos 2017 Come From The U.S.
What We Read Today 22 January 2017
Redneck Inventions
How Repealing Portions Of The Affordable Care Act Would Affect Health Insurance Coverage And Premiums
Grassroots Terrorism In 2017: A Small But Stubborn Threat
Earthquake Risk: Spotlight On Canada
Federal Income Taxes By Income Bracket
Infographic Of The Day: Guide To Caring For Your First Dog
Early Headlines: Migrants Incr. 41 Pct This Century, Women's March Largest Ever?, GOP ACA Disarray, Trump Hit With Ethics Complaint, Trump Back To '29?, May And Nieto To Visit Trump And More
New Seasonal Outlook Updates from NOAA and JAMSTEC Disagree Dramatically
Earnings And Economic Reports: Week Starting 23 January 2017
Investing Blog
The Week Ahead: Political Uncertainty And Market Volatility
Investors: How Not To Lose Everything And Die Broke
Opinion Blog
Retailing In America: Bricks And Torture
Economics, Society, And The Environment: What's Wrong With This Picture?
Precious Metals Blog
Four Catalysts Drive Gold And Silver For 2017
Live Markets
20Jan2017 Market Close: U.S. Stocks Were Up But Off Their Highs Of The Session, Crude Prices Continue To Climb, Next Week May Be Volatile
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government































 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2017 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved