Rail Week Ending Saturday, December 28 - Declined 9.4% In December And Down 5.0% For 2019

Week 52 of 2019 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) contracted according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. The intuitive sectors declined.

Analyst Opinion of the Rail Data

We review this data set to understand the economy. The intuitive sectors (total carloads removing coal, grain, and petroleum) declined 6.5 % year-over-year for this week. We primarily use rolling averages to analyze the intuitive data due to weekly volatility - and the 4 week rolling year-over-year average for the intuitive sectors improved from -8.3 % to -5.2 %.

When rail contracts, it suggests a slowing of the economy.

The following graph compares the four-week moving averages for carload economically intuitive sectors (red line) vs. total movements (blue line):

(Click on image to enlarge)

.Intermodal transport (containers or trailers on rail cars) growth was relatively strong until the beginning of 2019 - and now the year-to-date growth is deep in contraction.

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 the 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 [including coal and grain] and intermodal combined).

(Click on image to enlarge)

A summary for this week from the AAR:

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Disclaimer: No content is to be construed as investment advise and all content is provided for informational purposes only.The reader is solely responsible for determining whether any investment, ...

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