China’s rail cargo volume stabilises

One of the preferred gauges of economic activity by our dear vice premier Li Keqiang is showing signs of stabilisation.

Rail cargo volume in China amounted to 307 million tonnes in September, increase slightly from 304 million tonnes. On a year-on-year basis, rail cargo volume fell 5.4% compared with September last year, recovering from 9.2% yoy drop in August.

The first chart below shows the year-on-year change in freight volume along side with GDP growth (yoy), while the second chart shows the the actual level of freight volume. Although year-on-year change has recovered, the actual level has only just stabilised. The red arrows in the second chart show that the magnitude of decline if rail cargo volume is more of less the same as during the 2008/09 financial crisis (with the exception for the month of Chinese New Year).


  1. As predicted by many, economic activity in China is picking up in this quarter, and that is expected to continue through 2013.
    That has wider implications.