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2/25/2005



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

RTA report: Crosstie purchases rebound in January after December chill


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North American crosstie purchases in December dipped 1.6 percent to 1.21 million units compared with November, causing January tie production to fall 6.6 percent to 1.27 million units compared with December, according to the Railway Tie Association's (RTA) monthly market report.

In January, suppliers' tie inventory dropped almost 1 percent to 14.9 million units compared with December. However, January tie purchases increased more than 14 percent to 1.39 million units, which should spur February production, according to the report.

"January data suggests an unsettled market," RTA officials said in the report.

During the past 12 months, tie purchases reached 18.1 million units and production totaled 19 million units, a 5 percent and 8.3 percent increase, respectively, compared with 12-month totals in January 2004. Based on purchases rebounding in January after a weak December, RTA anticipates a 4.7 percent growth rate going forward.

Meanwhile, January's inventory-to-sales ratio of 0.82 fell slightly compared with December's 0.85 ratio.


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