Railway volumes continue their downward spiral in Q2, raising economic fears

, Investment

Carloads for the largest North American railways are down 11 per cent so far this quarter, a steeper decline than the six per cent drop seen in the first quarter.

Railway volumes have failed to meet already lowered expectations this quarter, raising the question of whether this is the “storm before the calm” or a sign of broader economic weakness.

The most surprising development in the second quarter has been the softness in intermodal volumes, which tends to indicate declining consumer demand, CIBC analyst Kevin Chiang said in a note to clients.

Combined with ongoing commodity weakness, carloads for the largest North American railways are down 11 per cent so far this quarter, a steeper decline than the six per cent drop seen in the first quarter.

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