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Rail traffic slowed a bit this week a negative weekly reading of -1.2%. This brings our 12-week moving average down to 5.8% from last week's reading of 6.4%. The pace of expansion has moderated substantially in the last few weeks from an average reading of almost 8%. The current pace of expansion appears much more consistent with what we're seeing in other data which confirms the muddle through thesis.

Here's more details on this week's reading (via AAR):

AAR today also reported decreased rail traffic for the week ending Feb. 1, 2014. U.S. railroads originated 270,903 carloads last week, down 1.5 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 247,109 units, down 0.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 518,012 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.2 percent compared with the same week last year.

Two of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including: grain, with 20,745 carloads, up 22.5 percent, and petroleum and petroleum products, with 13,255 carloads, up 0.8 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic were led by nonmetallic minerals and products, with 26,785 carloads, down 8.8 percent.

For the first five weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,345,184 carloads, up 0.4 percent from the same point last year, and 1,183,285 intermodal units, up 1.3 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first five weeks of 2014 was 2,528,469 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.8 percent from last year.

Source: Rail Traffic Expansion Continues To Moderate