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RTA report: Tie purchases, production nose-dived in November

After registering an unseasonal increase in October, crosstie purchases tumbled about 10 percent in November to a more normal seasonal level at 1.7 million units, according to the Railway Tie Association (RTA).

Tie production "took a more serious dive" in November, falling 17 percent from October's level to 2 million units, RTA officials said in the association's latest tie market report.

Through 2013's first 11 months, purchases — which have come on strong the past few months — totaled 19.8 million units, exceeding year-ago levels by more than 5 percent, they said. Tie production totaled 22.8 million units, down about 16 percent, and inventories totaled 16.3 million units, down about 14 percent compared with the same 2012 period.

Meanwhile, 12-month rolling data shows purchases, which have been rising since spring, were on pace for a 5.5 percent annual growth rate at 21.5 million units, RTA officials said. However, production continued to decline from an October 2012 peak and remained down 15 percent from the year-ago level at 24.2 million units.

The inventory-to-sales ratio of 0.67 in November was the lowest reading in 15 years and fell from October's 0.71 ratio, RTA officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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