US-China trade war impacting air freight demand: IATA

Geneva: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday released data for global air freight markets showing that demand measured in freight tonne-kilometres (FTKs) contracted by 3.2 per cent in July compared to the same period in 2018. 

This marks the ninth consecutive month of year-on-year decline in freight volumes. Air cargo continues to suffer from weak global trade and the intensifying trade dispute between the United States and China. Global trade volumes are 1.4 per cent lower than a year ago and trade volumes between the United States and China have fallen by 14 per cent year-to-date compared to the same period in 2018. 

The global Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) does not indicate an uptick. It is tracking of new manufacturing export orders has pointed to falling orders since September 2018. And for the first time since February 2009, all major trading nations reported falling orders. 

Freight capacity measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs) rose by 2.6 per cent year-on-year in July 2019. Capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for the 9th consecutive month. 

"Trade tensions are weighing heavily on the entire air cargo industry," said IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. 

"Higher tariffs are disrupting not only transpacific supply chains but also worldwide trade lanes. While current tensions might yield short-term political gains, they could lead to long-term negative changes for consumers and the global economy." 

Trade generates prosperity. "It is critical that the US and China work quickly to resolve their differences," said de Juniac. 

Airlines in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East suffered sharp declines in year-on-year growth in total air freight volumes in July 2019 while North America and Europe experienced more moderate declines. Africa and Latin America both recorded growth in air freight demand compared to July last year. 

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