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In December, both crosstie production and purchases tumbled 11 percent from November levels. On a year-over-year basis, production totaling 1.5 million units declined 10 percent while purchases totaling 1.8 million units climbed 32 percent, according to the Railway Tie Association (RTA).At December's end, the tie inventory stood at 18.3 million units versus 16.3 million units at November's end, and the inventory-to-sales ratio reached 0.74 versus November's 0.67 mark.In the fourth quarter, production continued a prolonged slide by declining 2.9 percent to 5.3 million units, RTA officials said in their December tie market report, adding that purchases followed a seasonal norm and fell 8.6 percent to 6 million units.Meanwhile, 12-month rolling data showed purchases — which have been on an upswing since spring — totaled 24.7 million units and were climbing at a 7 percent annual rate, RTA officials said. Production, which peaked a year ago, continued to decline in the 12-month period and remained down 15.5 percent from its year-ago level at 21.3 million units.
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