Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Greece and Rail Traffic

It sounds like France and Germany sound like they are moving forward with a plan to rescue Greece. I'd be a little concerned that if you open up the bailout window Spain, Ireland, Portugal, etc are going to come knocking next.

Someone pointed out today that Greece is only about the 34th largest economy in the world, so maybe we're all getting a little too worked up over a small part global GDP. We also should note that California - which would be the 8th largest economy in the world - is in a world of hurt right now. That might be the big bailout of 2010 (more likely 2011 after the mid-term elections) but it's too early to say.

Lots of weird fluctuations in the month rail traffic data, but the net result is that rail traffic was down roughly 1% vs Jan of 2009 which was pretty much the bottom of the recession. It's worth noting that excluding coal the 2010 shipments were up 11%. However, many leading indicators for future construction activity -- Forest Products (down 27%) and crushed stone (down 17%) -- remain extremely weak relative to last year. That begs the question, was last year really the bottom?


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