Canada’s rail traffic provides indicators on economic rebound

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Rail numbers indicate that while consumers may be bouncing back quickly, producers may not be, especially those that are export-dependent as rail shipments have not shown significant improvement. For the first three weeks of July, CP’s carloads were down 12 per cent from the same period a year earlier; CN’s were down 10 per cent. Revenue ton-miles (RTMs) – a metric that takes into account both shipping volumes and distance transported – were down 12 per cent at CP and 16 per cent at CN. RTMs at both railways are little changed from mid-April, generally regarded as the economic low point of the crisis.

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