There’s been some slowing in rail traffic data in recent weeks though the pace of growth remains positive. This week’s reading came in at 1.4% year over year which brings the 3 month moving average to 5.75%. This trend is likely to remain elevated for a few more weeks before the recent weakness begins to make the data look a lot weaker. Rail traffic isn’t looking recessionary, but it’s definitely weakening.
Here’s more from the AAR:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported an increase in traffic for the week ending March 23, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 278,738 carloads, up 0.2 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 235,641 units, up 1.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. traffic for the week was 514,379 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.7 percent compared with the same week last year.
Four of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, led by petroleum products, up 57 percent. Commodities showing a decrease were led by grain, down 17.3 percent.
For the first 12 weeks of 2013, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,289,507 carloads, down 3 percent from the same point last year, and 2,851,329 intermodal units, up 6.2 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 12 weeks of 2013 was 6,140,836 carloads and intermodal units, up 1 percent from last year.”
Chart via Orcam Investment Research: