Chart of the week: US road haulage index defies the gloom-mongers

For-Hire Truck Tonnage index

There has never been a recession in America without a preceding slide in road haulage, as Jonathan Allum points out in The Blah.

Transportation data is a helpful leading indicator as goods always have to be taken somewhere before being assembled or sold. The good news is that according to the For-Hire Truck Tonnage index, there is no sign of a dip in demand.

Other recent data has also defied the gloomsters, says a Gavekal Research note. The Atlanta branch of the US Federal Reserve has nudged its first-quarter GDP growth estimate up to 2.1%; manufacturing data and mortgage applications also indicate “a steadying of the ship”. A “newly dovish” central bank should also boost investors’ confidence.


“I’ve spent years arguing that Britain urgently needs to solve its housing crisis, both by building more houses, and finding ways to promote home ownership within the existing housing stock. Whenever you make these points, people will… tell you that Britain needs to get over its weird preoccupation with home ownership and learn to love renting like they do on the continent. But this argument doesn’t hold up… Britain’s home-ownership rates are the fourth-lowest in the EU – it’s the rent-happy Germans who are the outliers with the lowest ownership rates compared with every other nation… And the evidence is crystal clear that home ownership remains a near-universal aspiration. When the Centre for Policy Studies polled young voters… making housing more affordable was the most popular way that government could help… this might just be the most urgent problem our leaders have to wrestle with.”

Robert Colvile, City A.M.