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WEX Releases Monthly Construction Fuel Consumption Index (FCI) Results

U.S. Construction Industry Fueling Increased 1.9% Year-Over-Year in March; Down 0.9% versus Previous Month

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr. 25, 2013-- WEX Inc. (NYSE: WEX), a leading provider of corporate payment solutions, in collaboration with IHS, the leading global source of information and analytics, today released results of its WEX Construction Fuel Consumption Index (FCI), which indicated an increase of 1.9% in March versus its level at the same time the previous year.

The WEX 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.

WEX worked with IHS, Inc. to capture and analyze transaction data from its closed loop network, which includes over 90 percent of the domestic retail fuel locations. With this data, the WEX 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 March 2013, the WEX Construction FCI reported that fuel consumption by U.S. construction companies increased 1.9% versus March 2012 and decreased by 0.9% versus the previous month.

The WEX Construction FCI, which is available monthly in advance of the U.S. Census Bureau figures on construction spending, is available at http://www.wexinc.com/fuel-consumption-index.

Last month’s WEX Construction FCI reflected the continued year-over-year growth indicated by the seasonally-adjusted index in most of the government’s subsequent construction data releases. Construction spending excluding improvements – a good measure of activity – rose by 1.3% in February and private residential construction also increased in the same period by 3.3%. February housing permit statistics were promising, with total permits increasing by 4.6% and housing starts ticked up by 0.8% in February, to an annual rate of 917,000. Total construction put-in-place, which is released a month later than the WEX Construction FCI, increased by 1.2% in February. In March, the construction industry added 18,000 jobs after gaining 49,000 jobs in February, which is the industry’s sixth consecutive double-digit monthly increase.

IHS Analysis

According to the IHS analysis, the month-to-month decline in March for the WEX Construction FCI follows a decline in new home sales in February. New home sales fell by 4.6% in February to a 411,000-unit annual rate. Meanwhile, existing home sales rose 0.8% in February and total inventory increased by 9.6% to 1.94 million units.

Despite the increase in new home sales, the existing home inventory remains extremely lean and the lowest it has been in the month of February. This is also due to the fact that home prices continue to rise as inventories are lean, interest rates are low, the economy is growing and creating jobs, and the share of distressed homes is dropping. Additionally, higher home prices, in turn, are bringing more builders into the game. The housing market is expected to continue to improve and outperform the rest of the economy over the next few quarters, which is due to the low level of housing inventory and low interest rates.

The WEX Construction FCI for March 2013 is available at http://www.wexinc.com/fuel-consumption-index

About WEX Inc.

WEX Inc. (NYSE: WEX) is a leading provider of corporate payment solutions. From its roots in fleet card payments beginning in 1983, WEX has expanded the scope of its business into a multi-channel provider of corporate payment solutions representing more than 7.6 million cardholders and offering exceptional payment security and control across a wide spectrum of business sectors. The Company’s operations include WEX Bank, Fleet One, Pacific Pride, rapid! PayCard, Wright Express Prepaid Cards Australia, Wright Express Fuel Cards Australia, Wright Express New Zealand and CorporatePay Limited, England, as well as a majority equity position in UNIK S.A., Brazil. WEX and its subsidiaries employ more than 1,300 associates. For more information about WEX, please visit www.wexinc.com.

Source: WEX Inc.

News media contact:
WEX Inc.
Jessica Roy, 207-523-6763
Jessica.Roy@wexinc.com