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The weekly rail traffic reaffirms what we heard from FedEx yesterday (see here for more) and many of the recent regional PMI reports – the U.S. economy continues to expand.  This week’s data is consistent with recent traffic readings which show low single digit expansion.  This week’s carloads and intermodal data came in at 3.7% and 3% on a year over year basis.  Not great, but all things considered, not bad.  The AAR has more on this week’s report:

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported gains in weekly rail traffic, with U.S. railroads originating 297,400 carloads for the week ending Dec. 10, 2011, up 3.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 240,899 trailers and containers, up 3 percent compared with the same week last year.

Thirteen of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2010, including:  metals and products, up 26.6 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, up 23.1 percent, and metallic ores, up 21.9 percent. The groups showing a significant decrease in weekly traffic included: farm products excluding grain, down 16.6 percent, and iron and steel scrap, down 10.9 percent.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 6.2 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 2.2 percent compared with the same week in 2010.

For the first 49 weeks of 2011, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 14,318,812 carloads, up 1.9 percent from the same point last year, and 11,259,940 trailers and containers, up 5 percent from last year.”

chart provided by pragcap.com

Source: AAR

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