Bloomberg reports that “This year’s railroad slump is getting worse as a slowdown in manufacturing threatens broader weakness in the U.S. economy.
There’s no bottom in sight as the decline in carloads for large U.S. railroads widened to 5.5% in the third quarter, the biggest drop in three years, according to weekly reports from the Association of American Railroads. Shipments are down for autos, coal, grain, chemicals and consumer goods, with crude oil the only bright spot.”
The Bloomberg article notes that “The rail downturn underscores the damage from the U.S.-China trade war, which is making shippers more cautious and crimping freight -- validating earlier warnings from railroad executives. Companies that stocked up on inventory last year amid President Donald Trump’s tariff threats are now working it off. Adding to the cargo drop, a brief rise in coal exports has fizzled and bad weather has delayed crop harvests and dragged down grain carloads.”