Rail Traffic Continues to Stagnate

More signs of muddle through here as weekly rail traffic comes in pretty stagnant again.  This week’s intermodal reading was 2.5% year over year which brings the 12 week moving average to 1.64%.  That’s the lowest level since the first week of January and clearly not a sign of a robust economy.

Here’s more via AAR:

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported mixed traffic for the week ending June 8, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 278,249 carloads, down 2.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 252,641 units, up 2.5 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. traffic for the week was 530,890 carloads and intermodal units, down 0.3 percent compared with the same week last year.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, led by petroleum and petroleum products, up 27.8 percent. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included grain, down 22.5 percent.

For the first 23 weeks of 2013, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 6,359,429 carloads, down 1.7 percent from the same point last year, and 5,513,692 intermodal units, up 4 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 23 weeks of 2013 was 11,873,121 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.9 percent from last year.”

Chart via Orcam Investment Research:



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Cullen Roche

Cullen Roche

Mr. Roche is the Founder of Orcam Financial Group, LLC. Orcam is a financial services firm offering research, private advisory, institutional consulting and educational services. He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance and Understanding the Modern Monetary System.

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  • Adam P.

    Despite the 6.5% stock market rally over the last three months, a handful of billionaires are quietly dumping their American stocks… and fast.

    Warren Buffett, who has been a cheerleader for U.S. stocks for quite some time, is dumping shares at an alarming rate. He recently complained of “disappointing performance” in dyed-in-the-wool American companies like Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Kraft Foods…


  • Andrew P

    Buy low, sell high. Warren Buffett is selling high and banking his profits.

  • whidbey

    Excellent points. The slow down in rails is not unexpected given the current level of economic activity compared to historical seasonal data. Strangely, inventories are not falling – yet, but consumers have not slowed consumption. Manufacturing date seems irregular with NYFed saying today the distict is up from a period of slowing but elsewhere the level of activity is weak. That kind of pattern can not endure for long and typically indicates a period of economic/market change is underway. The correction this summer could be significant. But it is Fed week so nothing will be clear soon. Well done.