Norfolk Southern sees U.S. housing weak till 2009

CHICAGO Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:54pm EST

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The struggling U.S. housing market may not recover until some point in 2009, the top executive at U.S. railroad Norfolk Southern Corp (NSC.N) said on Wednesday.

"Our best guess is ... the housing thing is here to stay," Chief Executive Wick Moorman said at the Reuters Manufacturing Summit in Chicago. "Based on all the numbers you see, that we both look at in terms of inventory and sales rates out there, that (a recovery in 2009) certainly seems a rational assumption."

Moorman said the company expects full-year 2008 freight volumes at the railroad to be up 2 percent and that overall freight prices charge to customers will be up around 4 percent.

(For summit blog: summitnotebook.reuters.com/)

(Reporting by Nick Carey; editing by Phil Berlowitz)