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3/19/10 WEEKLY RAIL SHIPPING DATA: SLOW COME BACK, A STALL’N?

Below is the updated twenty-three-week data compilation of 2009/10 rail shipping weekly figures compared to 2008/09. The Delta change illustrates the rate of change between the previous weeks data. The average at the bottom shows how the delta change average is changing between weeks. Why is this data useful: To track actual economic recovery outside of government stimulus money, which has distorted real GDP growth data.
 
3/19/2010 STATEMENT: I must admit I have a bias. I don’t think there is much of an underlying economic recovery outside of government stimulus. Rail traffic please prove me wrong. So, compared to last year at the horrible bottom we are obviously doing better. The volatile weekly data series is up but now dropping and the change between weeks, reflected by the delta, is a little negative. If, this continues it will begin to pull the 4 week rolling average down, not a good sign.
 
One, has to ask the question: Is this improvement enough to effect GDP, x-gov? There was a surprised increase in corporate spending which made a liar of the PCI diesel index. Is this improvement in corp. spending and a million census workers buying new shoes, enough to compensate for the drying up of gov spending? 
 
The bond market last week is really quite unsure. A drop in bond subscription rates and a lengthening of the tail, (how long the bonds take to be absorbed) is a serious problem. Even the ex-criminal, I mean ex-chairman of the fed, Greenspan, passed statement on the subject. It was flushed down our throats by a Bloomberg talking head basking in ‘His Eminences’ golden radiance.
 
So, on Sunday I’m getting down on my hands and knees and rais'n my arms up to the corporate heavens and pray’n: O lords of finance please send a few more containers down those tracks of commerce, for all our sakes.
 
RAIL TRAFFIC
2010/09 COMPARED TO 2009/08
 
 
 
Yr to Date
 
Current Wk
 
4 Wk Roll Av
DATE
 
Delta
 
Delta
 
Delta
 
 
Change
 
Change
 
Change
3/19/2010
3.5
0.3
6.4
-1.5
8
0.1
3/12/2010
3.2
0.5
7.9
-1.4
7.9
3.2
3/5/2010
2.7
0.8
9.3
1
4.7
1.6
2/27/2010
1.9
1
8.3
2.9
3.1
0.5
2/20/2010
0.9
0.8
5.4
10
2.6
0.4
2/13/2010
0.1
-1
-4.6
-7.6
2.2
-1.5
2/6/2010
1.1
0.4
3
-4.2
3.7
3
1/30/2010
0.7
2.1
7.2
3.7
0.7
1.9
1/23/2010
-1.4
2.9
3.5
3.4
-1.2
0.4
1/16/2010
-4.3
4.3
0.1
8.7
-1.6
-1.1
1/9/2010
-8.6
6.7
-8.6
-8.4
-0.5
-0.2
1/2/2010
-15.3
0.2
-0.2
-5
-0.3
1.3
12/26/2009
-15.5
0.3
4.8
1
-1.6
1.8
12/19/2009
-15.8
0.4
3.8
9.6
-3.4
2.1
12/12/2009
-16.2
0.1
-5.8
-0.9
-5.5
0.4
12/5/2009
-16.3
0.2
-4.9
0
-5.9
1.7
11/28/2009
-16.5
0.2
-4.9
0.4
-7.6
1.8
11/21/2009
-16.7
0.2
-5.3
3.1
-9.4
1.9
11/14/2009
-16.9
0.2
-8.4
2.7
-11.3
1.4
11/7/2009
-17.1
0.2
-11.1
1.5
-12.7
0.9
10/31/2009
-17.3
0.3
-12.6
-0.4
-13.6
0
10/24/2009
-17.6
0.3
-12.2
1.7
-13.6
0.4
11/11/2009
-17.9
0.1
-13.9
1.1
-14
2
10/3/2009
-18
0.1
-15
1.2
-16
1.2
9/26/2009
-18.1
0
-16.2
0
-17.2
0
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/23/2010
AVERAGE=
0.98
AVERAGE=
1.16
AVERAGE=
0.94
1/30/2010
AVERAGE=
1.04
AVERAGE=
1.30
AVERAGE=
0.99
2/6/2010
AVERAGE=
1.01
AVERAGE=
1.01
AVERAGE=
1.10
2/13/2010
AVERAGE=
0.91
AVERAGE=
0.58
AVERAGE=
0.97
2/20/2010
AVERAGE=
0.90
AVERAGE=
1.03
AVERAGE=
0.94
2/27/2010
AVERAGE=
0.91
AVERAGE=
1.11
AVERAGE=
0.92
3/5/2010
AVERAGE=
0.90
AVERAGE=
1.11
AVERAGE=
0.95
3/12/2010
AVERAGE=
0.89
AVERAGE=
1.00
AVERAGE=
1.05
3/19/2010
AVERAGE=
0.86
AVERAGE=
0.90
AVERAGE=
1.01
 
 
3/12/2010 STATEMENT: Rail traffic has increased again, in most time frames. Only coal shipping is negative compared to last year. The change between weeks is ok, with only the most volatile weekly period showing a drop. The average of this change in most time frames seems ok, and if dropping will need to be verified by a number of weeks of declining delta’s. So all and all it is a perfect world. Diesel consumption and Long Beach container shipping were not quite as positive and the PCI, (diesel) which tracks industrial production was offset because there was more corporate spending than the PCI predicted. So great, when all those census takers get a haircut and new shoes, eat at Taco Bell and hit a movie, we will again have full employment and a fully recovered economy.
 
3/5/2010 STATEMENT: For the second week in a row rail traffic has picked up in all time frames. We are comparing rail freight shipping to this time last year, which was at the bottom and yet to stabilize, making year-to-year comparisons pretty easy to beat. However Long Beach outbound container traffic has also picked up some. Grain, chemicals, food, metals, lumber and autos continue to be positive. Only coal remains negative for the year.  
 
Neither the rail nor the Long Beach figures are pointing to a quick recovery in the overall economy, x government stimulus. Maybe trucker diesel consumption will be more exciting.
 
3/5/10 STATEMENT. Last weeks data is a nice change and has effected all three periods tracked. The four-week rolling average is again picking up. Hopefully this trend will continue. Six of the sever components which make up the data were in positive territory with only coal still negative. Even forest products made it onto the positive side. The delta between weeks is also beginning to look a little better.
 
We’ll have to see if Long Beach container shipping and the diesel consumption data give a clearer picture. Maybe hiring a million plus census workers will help pull up overall consumption. 
 
2/27/2010 Statement: Rail shipping continues to plod along just into positive percentages compared to last year at this time. The differences between each monthly change are beginning to yield helpful information. For instance, the average rate of change between weeks is now dropping in the 4-week and year to date data. This indicates weakness, which only strong current weekly data can help, by dragging the other periods higher. To show a sustainable economic recovery, these weekly figures must remain well above last year’s horrible data. Long Beach container shipping, in bound and out bound is dropping again, as well.   So, all in all, a weak week.


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