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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

RTA tie market report: A June swoon for purchases, production


The surge in May crosstie purchases triggered an "exaggerated" decline in June, when purchases fell 38 percent month over month to 1.7 million units, according to the Railway Tie Association's (RTA) monthly market report.

Compared with May figures, June tie production dipped 8 percent to 1.6 million units, inventories shrunk 0.5 percent to 23.2 million units and the inventory-to-sales ratio stabilized at 0.81.

In the second quarter, tie production decreased 7 percent to 5.1 million units and purchases rose 14 percent to 6.4 million units compared with first-quarter figures. On a year-over-year basis, quarterly production was off 23 percent and purchases were down 3 percent, RTA officials said in the report.

Through 2013's first half, purchases dipped 6 percent to nearly 12 million units and production tumbled 16 percent to 10.6 million units compared with the year-ago period. From January through June, inventories dropped 10 percent, RTA officials said.

Meanwhile, 12-month rolling data showed both production and purchases continued to decline from last year's high levels, they said. As of June's end, production fell from a peak of 25.4 million units in October 2012 to 23.2 million units, while purchases dropped from a peak of 24.3 million units in July 2012 to 22.3 million units, RTA officials said.