Wright Express Releases Monthly Construction Fuel Consumption Index (FCI) Results

Wright Express Releases Monthly Construction Fuel Consumption Index (FCI) Results

U.S. Construction Industry Fueling Declined 0.8% Year-Over-Year in September; Up 0.7% versus Previous Month

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Wright Express Corporation (NYS: WXS) , a leading global provider of value-based business payment processing and information management solutions, in collaboration with IHS (NYS: IHS) , the leading global source of information and analytics, today released results of its Wright Express Construction Fuel Consumption Index (FCI), which indicated a decrease of 0.8% in September versus its level the previous year.

The Wright Express Construction FCI measures national fuel consumption statistics for the construction industry, which provides an accurate and up-to-date indication of construction activity in the United States.

"The decline in the year-over-year results, combined with the first monthly uptick seen in recent reports, serves as another reminder that the U.S. construction industry has yet to forge a clear path to recovery," said Rick Pomerleau, vice president, corporate development at Wright Express.

Wright Express worked with IHS to capture and analyze transaction data from its closed loop network of more than 180,000 fuel and vehicle maintenance locations, including over 90 percent of the domestic retail fuel locations and 45,000 vehicle maintenance locations. With this data, the Wright Express Construction FCI can be used to identify emerging trends within the construction industry and the national economy.

The indicators were tested at monthly, quarterly, and annual frequencies, with the greatest insights produced using the year-over-year percent change of the monthly data. For September 2012, the Wright Express Construction FCI reported that fuel consumption by U.S. construction companies increased 0.7% versus the previous month and decreased by 0.8% versus September 2011.

The Wright Express Construction FCI, which is available monthly in advance of the U.S. Census Bureau figures on construction spending, is available at www.wrightexpress.com/fci.

Last month's Wright Express Construction FCI corresponded with decreased construction spending levels evident in most of the government's subsequent construction data releases, which reinforced the short-term picture of a weak construction market. Construction spending excluding improvements - a good measure of activity - declined by 0.4% in August, while private residential construction showed positive growth of 3.0%. August housing permit statistics mirrored the declining Fuel Consumption Index by falling 1.0% in August to an annual rate of 803,000. Housing starts did climb to their second highest level since October 2008 with an increase of 2.3% in August. Total construction put-in-place decreased by 0.6% in August.

IHS Analysis

According to the IHS analysis, the mild rise in the Wright Express Fuel Consumption Index in September coincides with recent housing statistics, which suggests modest improvement. Existing home sales jumped 7.8% in August, which is the best figure since May 2010. Although there were some larger increases in 2009 and 2010, those were boosted by tax credits, while increased home sales in August were driven by economic fundamentals including an improving economy, low interest rates, and a drop in home sales cancellation rate.

Normal economic conditions are still at least a couple of years away even though the housing market is expected to see some improvement this year. The rise of home prices in recent months is due to a rising demand by investors, low interest rates, and a drop in the proportion of distressed sales. Any gain in prices is good news because the price gains reduce the number of homeowners with "underwater" mortgages. The housing market will continue to improve, as long as the economy is creating jobs. The current economic outlook, however, is for a modest recovery that lasts three to four years, not the sharp upswing that characterizes most housing recoveries.

The Wright Express Construction FCI for September 2012 is available at www.wrightexpress.com/fci.

About Wright Express

Wright Express is a leading provider of value-based, business payment processing and information management solutions. The Company's fleet, corporate and prepaid payment solutions provide its more than 350,000 customers with unparalleled security and control across a wide spectrum of business sectors. The Company's operations include Wright Express Financial Services, Fleet One, Pacific Pride, rapid! PayCard, Wright Express Prepaid Cards Australia, Wright Express Fuel Cards Australia and CorporatePay Limited, England, as well as a majority equity position in UNIK S.A, Brazil. Wright Express and its subsidiaries employ more than 1,300 associates. For more information about Wright Express, please visit wrightexpress.com.

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News media contact:
Wright Express Corporation
Jessica Roy, 207-523-6763

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Maine


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