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Here’s a negative trend we’re going to want to keep a close eye on.  This week’s rail traffic is showing a negative reading again.  Intermodal was down 2.8% while carloads were down 5%.  The 10 week move average remains positive, but dipped to 4.3% from 5.2% last week. The year to date change has now turned negative.  The AAR has more details:

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported a decline in weekly rail traffic for the week ending February 25, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 281,644 carloads, down 5 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 214,402 trailers and containers, down 2.8 percent compared with the same week last year.

Nine of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with motor vehicles and equipment, up 30.9 percent; petroleum products, up 25.6 percent, and metals and products, up 19.4 percent. The groups showing a significant decrease in weekly traffic included coal, down 13.1 percent; grain, down 11.9 percent, and nonmetallic minerals, down 10.8 percent.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 8 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 2.9 percent compared with the same week in 2011.

For the first eight weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,272,480 carloads, down 0.3 percent from last year, and 1,772,839 trailers and containers, up 1.6 percent from last year.”

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