Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Misc: Goldman says Q1 finished strong, Rail Car Woes

by Calculated Risk on 4/12/2011 08:58:00 PM

• Earlier I noted that several analysts have lowered their forecasts for Q1 GDP growth. However, in a research note released this afternoon, Goldman argued that high frequency indicators suggest growth picked up late in Q1:

At present, the current activity measure carries a clear message: US growth likely had considerable momentum in late Q1 ... our “bean-count” model of Q1 GDP suggests growth of 2.5% or lower ... [however high frequency indicators] showed growth of 3.6% in February [and] more than 4% [in March] ... [this is] consistent with our forecast that GDP growth will accelerate again in the second quarter.
• From the WSJ: Rail Woes Hit Auto Deliveries
As the U.S. economy contracted during the recession, railroad operators put hundreds of thousands of rail cars into storage and cut their staffs. Now that shipments of autos, coal and consumer goods are rising again, the nation's railroads don't have enough rolling stock for fast deliveries.

The rail industry, which ran at slower speeds in the first quarter due to heavy snow storms, also was caught off guard by the quarter's 11.4% surge in automotive railcar demand as auto makers ramped up production ...

As of March 1, 1.53 million railcars were in use, down from 1.6 million on July 1, 2009, when the recession was in full swing, according to the most recent data released by the Association of American Railroads.
This sounds like a short term problem, but also suggests business is still picking up.

Earlier posts:
NFIB: Small Business Optimism Index decreases in March
Trade Deficit decreased in February to $45.8 billion
Ceridian-UCLA: Diesel Fuel index increases in March