Air cargo rides the wave of an improving world economy

Air cargo rode the “wave of an improving world economy” over the first two months of the year but should not expect current growth to continue across the whole of 2017.
In its latest market update, analyst WorldACD said that air cargo demand grew by 6.3% year on year in weight terms in January and February combined.
It said that demand even improved immediately after the Chinese New Year, a traditionally weak period.
However, it also cautioned that the current year-on-year growth being experienced by the industry may not continue for the whole year.
The analyst said: “Are these signs a harbinger of good times to come? Air cargo seems to ride the wave of an improving world economy, making for a good outlook for this year.
“Yet, we should caution against expectations of the present YoY growth percentages continuing.
“After all, the impressive growth percentages of the past half year were possible because of the relative weakness in the equivalent period one year earlier.”
Looking at where the growth is coming from, the analyst said the three largest regions grew faster than elsewhere with Asia Pacific up 11%, North America improving by 7% and Europe registering an improvement of 6.5%.
Worldwide yield in dollar terms for the January/February period declined by 5.9% compared with November/December but last year the drop between the two periods was 8.3%.
“Viewing Jan/Feb 2017 against Jan/Feb 2016, we see a yield drop of 2.6% in US dollar-terms, but a 0.6 % yield rise, when measured in euros,” WorldACD said.
“So, the good news is that Jan/Feb-revenues increased YoY. However, seen against the backdrop of jet fuel prices rising strongly YoY, margins for airlines continued to be fragile.”
The analyst also looked at the performance of the 20 largest forwarders in 2016 and found regional differences.
“With a worldwide share in general cargo of 46%, [top 20 forwarders] are strongest in the air cargo markets of Asia Pacific, Europe and North America.
“In Africa, MESA and Latin America, their shares were way below, with 20%, 25% and 28% respectively.
“The top-20’s share in all specialist products worldwide remained at 36% only, ranging from an 8% share in Live Animals and Valuables to a 66% share in Pharmaceuticals.”

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