Thursday, November 2, 2017

IATA: Air freight growth ebbed in September; demand spurt likely over

While the air freight segment has had a relatively banner year in 2017, with traffic rising 10.1% year-to-date compared to 2016, the pace of growth slowed in September to 9.2% year-over-year (YOY), its slowest since April, according to IATA’s September Air Freight Market Analysis released Nov. 1.

“While that’s slower than in previous months, it remains stronger than anything we have seen in recent memory,” IATA DG and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said. “But there are signs that this demand spurt may have peaked.”

“The upward trend in SA [seasonally adjusted] cargo volume has eased,” IATA senior economist David Oxley said. “The continued slowdown in the [YOY] FTK growth rate adds to signs that cargo growth may have passed its cyclical peak.”

“The inventory-to-sales ratio in the US is now trending sideways,” IATA said. “This indicated that the period when companies look to restock inventories quickly—which often gives air cargo a boost—has ended.”

Nonetheless, September’s 9.2% total market growth rate is considerably ahead of the five and ten-year averages (4.4% and 3.2%, respectively), and according to Oxley, “when looking across the three months to September as a whole, FTKs posted their strongest YOY growth in [the third quarter] since 2010.”

IATA is holding to its forecast of 7.5% YOY growth in the global air freight market for full-year 2017, but is expecting FTK growth in 2018 as a whole “will be somewhat slower than the robust growth seen this year.”

All regions saw an increase in international air freight demand in September, but at a slower pace than August. African carriers again saw the largest proportional growth, 18.1%, propelled by traffic between Africa and Asia. North American carriers had the second fastest pace, 11% YOY, as inbound air freight volumes continue to outpace export volumes (12% YOY US imports growth versus 6.6% YOY US exports growth for the first eight months of 2017).

European carriers had 10.6% YOY growth in air cargo volumes in September as freight demand on transatlantic and Europe-Asia routes remain strong. IATA said volumes on the Asia routes appear to have been boosted by increased trade stemming from economic stimulus measures enacted in China.

Asia-Pacific region carriers’ air freight traffic continues to be strong, rising 10.1% in September as regional manufacturers’ export order books remain solid. “Export conditions are the strongest in Chinese Taipei,” Oxley said, “while exporters in the major markets of China and Japan are also continuing to report growing orders.”

Air freight traffic on Middle Eastern carriers slowed to 9% YOY in September, down from 14.2% in August. The region continues to see strong competition from other regions’ carriers, particularly on the Asia-Europe route, Oxley said.

Latin American carriers had 8.6% YOY growth in air freight traffic in September, continuing the pickup seen in recent months as Brazil, the region’s largest economy, regains its footing.

(Mark Nensel - ATWOnline News)

No comments: