Rail Traffic: Economy Continues to Soften

More weakness in this week’s rail traffic report.  The AAR reported a -0.3% reading in intermodal.  This is the second consecutive negative weekly reading.  This brings the 12 week moving average down to 1.3%.  That’s about in-line with the consensus Q4 GDP predictions and indicative of an economy that is growing, but just slightly.

Here’s more via AAR:

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported declines in weekly rail traffic for the week ending December 8, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 292,206 carloads, down 1.6 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 240,098 trailers and containers, down 0.3 percent compared with the same week last year.

Twelve of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 59.5 percent; lumber wood and products, up 18.6 percent, and metallic ores, up 16.6 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included grain, down 15.3 percent; metals and products, down 11.9 percent, and coal, down 9.7 percent.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 0.5 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 2.4 percent compared with the same week in 2011.

For the first 49 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 13,888,035 carloads, down 3.0 percent from the same point last year, and 11,619,432 trailers and containers, up 3.2 percent from last year.”

(Chart via Orcam Investment Research)

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.

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Comments

  1. Total AAR rail loadings, **including intermodal**, have been dropping on an annual change rate basis for 12 weeks.

    http://www.nowandfutures.com/images/aar_rail_weekly.png

    Non ferrous scrap waste, a quite reliable GDP forecasting stat, has been showing negative for about 8 months.

    In my opinion, we’re in a recession now or the NBER will call it as having started by April.