National average spot rates inclusive of fuel were flat last week at $2.71 per mile. This was a positive development as it reversed a monthlong slide. Spot rates are higher by 32.8% year-over-year. Given the stabilization in tender rejections over the past two weeks, spot rates have now followed suit.
Contracted tenders fell 1.7% week-over-week, snapping a very short-term uptrend. Contract tenders are roughly flat since Jan. 8. Contract volume on a tender rejection-adjusted basis is outpacing 2020 levels by 19.4% (decelerating from 26.4% last week).
Relative capacity loosened by just 12 basis points (bps) week-over-week to 21.85%, which indicates the fall in tenders was mostly driven by falling load volumes. Tender rejections have flattened out in this 22% range after falling about 6 percentage points off of their December high of 28%.
The backdrop for truckload (at least through 1H 2021) remains healthy with a strong consumer, further stimulus forthcoming and a recovering industrial economy. The back half of 2021 is much more uncertain.
Consumer spending, according to Bank of America card spending data, was up a strong 5.2% year-over-year last week and continues to be driven by the disbursement of stimulus.
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