Outbound tender volumes (OTVI.USA) continued on their upward trajectory and extended their multi-week winning streak dating back to late July. OTVI first crossed over to positive on July 24. It has been positive on a year-over-year basis since. One key question is how much of the sustained volume improvement is being driven by increasing underlying demand compared to how much is being driven by easing comparisons, which eased substantially on a year-over-year basis starting in July as the 2018 freight bull market began to wane in the back half of the year. Time will tell on this front.
Nationally, outbound tender volumes were up 4.04% year-over-year last week and are above the 60-day moving average by 2.7%. Month-over-month volumes are tracking up 0.81%. If there are any negatives, they are minor and include the fact that outbound tenders were actually down 93 basis points week-over-week which caused the distance from its 60 day-moving average to narrow to 2.7% this week from 4.3% last week.
On a market-by-market basis, individual market volatility compressed significantly but only 3 out of 15 markets were positive on a week-over-week basis. On the upside, Savannah led the way, up 4.2%, followed by Memphis, up 2.0%, and Ontario, California, up 0.9%. Flooding impacted Houston negatively with volumes down 8.3% week over-week. Detroit saw pull-forward in demand prior to the UAW strike with volumes up 31.2% this week. On the downside, the worst markets week-over-week included Miami (down 20.6%), Fresno, California (down 16.2%) and Seattle (down 9.2%).
National rejection rates up again, now near mid-summer highs
National tender rejections jumped nearly a full point since Sunday and now sit at 5.98%. On Tuesday, OTRI.USA broke above 6% for the first time since mid-July. The news this week has been full of events capable of disruption from the Saudi oil strike, to the UAW auto strike and the Houston flooding. None of these events caused the material impact that was expected initially, yet OTRI.USA is up 23.37%, or 95 basis points over the past week. This latest winning week makes six out of the last seven in which tender rejections have risen off the bottom experienced in mid-August. National tender rejections have jumped 53.78%, or nearly 2 full points in the last 30 days.
OTRI.USA is now up 159 bps, or 36.30% above its 60-day moving average.
Year-over-year comparables for national rejection rates are still extraordinarily difficult due to the daunting 2018 numbers in which rejections never fell below double digits. Nonetheless, this is the first time the year-over-year percent change has fallen below negative 70% since the Freight Intel Group began publishing the Weekly Market Wrap.