By Thomas Black 2014-05-15
Rising cargo rates are giving truckers confidence to expand fleets and replace tractors averaging a near-record age of 9.6 years. While first-quarter U.S. economic growth came to a near standstill, gross domestic product is expected to expand 2.5 percent this year, according to the median forecast of 94 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, topping 2013’s 1.9 percent rise, and accelerate to a 3.1 percent rate next year.
Even with winter storms disrupting highway travel, first-quarter truckload shipping volumes rose 4.9 percent and rates climbed 1.2 percent, according to consultant FTR Associates. North American truckers placed net orders for 90,289 large trucks in the three months ended in March, 35 percent more than a year earlier and the fastest such pace since early 2006.
Eaton raised its 2014 forecast for North American truck output by 5.7 percent to 280,000 units. That was among the highest annual totals projected by seven truck and equipment manufacturers, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. Their average prediction is for an 11 percent gain over 2013.
Production is up this week but not showing growth trend yet.
Friday, May 09, 2014
U.S. traffic data for April shows railroads began to rebound from the trying winter months, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Carload originations rose 6.4 percent to 1,481,586 and intermodal volume climbed 9 percent to 1,316,176 units compared with April 2013 figures.
Intermodal traffic logged a year-over-year gain for the 53rd straight month and the weekly average of 263,235 units was the highest for any April in history and the second-highest for any month, AAR officials said in a press release.
Fourteen of 20 commodity categories registered increases, led by grain at 27.6 percent, crushed stone, sand and gravel at 9.5 percent, petroleum/petroleum products at 7.6 percent and coal at 6.4 percent. Metallic ores volume tumbled 27 percent and food products traffic dipped 3 percent.
Sorry, they changes the software I used to put on the graph and it required some finagling by Rob to fix.
07 May 2014
It is being reported that stainless steel scrap prices in the United States are continuing to rise as the London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel prices reach the highest they have been over the 14 months.
As recently as last week, grade 316 stainless has risen from USD 2,260 per ton to USD 2,375 and grade 304 has gone from USD 1,790 per ton to 1,860 per ton. Industry analysts assert the short-term reason is the strong consumer demand for material and higher buying price, however, the major factor is the impact of Indonesia’s ore export ban, which started in January of this year. The Russian material shortage, as a result of political instability between Russia and Ukraine, is also playing a role.
The shift, which market participants say started this April, came as the spot lump premium started easing from a high of $0.295/dry metric ton unit on January 20 to $0.195/dmtu at the beginning of April, according to Platts data.