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Railway Cargo Volume Continues to Slide

On August 18, 2015, the China National Development and Reform Commission released statistics on railway cargo volume. Railway cargo volume is one of the three major economic indicators reportedly used by Li Keqiang, current Premier, to measure China’s economy. The other two indicators are electricity consumption and the loans that banks disburse.

According to the statistics, from January to July, railway cargo volume was down by 10.2 percent, year on year, with a total of 1.98 billion metric tons. The Railway Freight Ton-Kilometers (RFTK) decreased by 11.8 percent, totaling 1,396.5 billion ton-kilometers. In July alone, railway cargo volume declined by 10.9 percent and RFTK dropped by 14.4 percent, year on year. The China National Development and Reform Commission attributed the continued slide to the weak transport demand for coal, metallurgy, mine construction materials, and other major bulk materials. 

Similarly, the statistics released in July showed that, in the first six months of 2015, railway cargo volume was down 10.1 percent, year on year, totaling 1.7 billion metric tons. The RFTK was down to 1,205 billion ton-kilometers, a reduction of 11.4 percent year on year. 
Sources: China National Development and Reform Commission, August 18, 2015 and July 24, 2015