Air cargo growth expected to weaken in 2019

Air cargo market growth is expected to continue to soften in 2019 with a slowdown in world trade predicted to hit volume and yield performance.
In its annual market update, airline association IATA said that it expects cargo volumes to grow by 4.1% to 63.7m tonnes this year but improvements will then slow to 3.7% to 65.9m tonnes in 2019.
This would represent the slowest rate of growth recorded by the industry since 2016.
Cargo yield growth is also expected to slow next year, slipping from an "exceptional" 10% year-on-year improvement in 2018 to an increase of 2% in 2019.
However, the cargo sector will benefit from lower costs next year. Finally, overall cargo revenues are expected to reach $116.1bn, up from $109.8bn in 2018.
The organisation said weaker growth levels were a reflection of the trade outlook.
IATA pointed out that global GDP is forecast to expand by 3.1% in 2019, marginally below the 3.2% expansion in 2018. 
It added that there are significant downside risks to growth from trade wars and political uncertainties such as with Brexit, but the consensus view is that these factors will not offset the positive impetus from expansionary fiscal policy and growing business investment in major economies.
IATA also forecast that global airline industry net profit will be $35.5bn in 2019, slightly ahead of the $32.3bn expected net profit in 2018.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general and chief executive, said: "We had expected that rising costs would weaken profitability in 2019. But the sharp fall in oil prices and solid GDP growth projections have provided a buffer.
"So we are cautiously optimistic that the run of solid value creation for investors will continue for at least another year. But there are downside risks as the economic and political environments remain volatile.”
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