Air cargo returns to growth in October with business boosted by pre-tariff rush

Air cargo volumes recorded an increase in October following on from the first decline in demand since 2016 in September.
The latest figures from analyst WorldACD show that volumes increased by 2% year on year in October, with three regions recording improvements for imports and exports.
This follows a decrease in demand in September – the first since March 2016 – and compares with a 3.1% increase over the first ten months of the year.
Asia Pacific was the best performing region in October with export growth of 4.2% and imports of 2.7%, for Europe, the corresponding percentages were 0.5% and 2.7% and for Middle East and South Asia there was an improvement of 3.4% & 0.1%.
WorldACD said: "In the other areas, the picture was mixed: Africa and North America grew in incoming but contracted in outgoing traffic, whilst Central and South America showed the opposite trend.
"Both In October and in the year to date, the highest region-to-region growth was observed from Central and South America to Asia Pacific (+33% in October), mainly driven by the export of seafood."
In terms of US dollar yields, WorldACD said origin Asia Pacific recorded an increase against last year of 10.4%, mainly "caused by a 14.3% yield growth in the market from Asia Pacific to North America".
For the first ten months, yields are up by 13.4% year on year.
"A remarkable yield development was noticed in the October-market from Hong Kong to the US: the yield increased by 19.5% year on year, whilst it topped the peak yield of November last year by 35 cents."
The analyst also looked at the impact of trade tariffs on the air cargo market, looking at the US-China markets.
"Taking the totals for the [September and October] for both [China-US] directions together, we noted a year-on-year growth of 1.9%, well above the world average of 0.9%.
"As would be expected, the 4.5% year-on-year growth in air cargo from China to the USA [in October], was largely fueled by a rise in the transport of vulnerable /high-tech goods.
"This sector grew by a whopping 30.5% year on year, much more than the usual seasonal upswing, one would say. More likely a case of US businesses stocking up before tariffs really start to bite."
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