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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Tie production, purchases ended 2010 on a high note, RTA says


After tumbling in November, crosstie production in December rose 6 percent to 1.7 million units vs. November's total, according to the Railway Tie Association’s (RTA) monthly market report. Purchases soared 26 percent to 1.6 million units.

December's inventory-to-sales ratio dipped slightly from November's 0.83 to 0.82. But tie inventories — which during an eight-month period last year declined by 3.6 million units — continued to build, regaining more than 1 million ties in 2010’s final three months, the report states.

In the fourth quarter, tie purchases fell 25 percent to 4.1 million units, following the seasonal norm, according to the RTA. But production, which rose 8 percent to 5.2 million units, “defied seasonal patterns,” RTA officials said in the report.

Meanwhile, 12-month rolling data shows both purchases and production registered strength at year's end, the report states. Purchases, which hit a 2010 low point in May 2010, rose about 12 percent since; production, which bottomed out in August 2010, increased more than 8 percent afterward. In addition, tie inventories climbed 7 percent in the fourth quarter after falling to a 2010 low in September.

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