Forecast 2010

LOTS of factors could upset the apple cart in 2010, starting with the behaviour of European and US consumers. Governments in the west have spent tens of billions to prop up their financial sectors and stimulate their economies, and sooner rather than later will have to draw in their horns. Will that lead to austerity, lower consumer spending, less airfreight? Will it add to unemployment?“There are so many macro-economic factors that could affect demand,” says Ulrich Ogiermann, chief executive officer of Cargolux. “We think volatility will be the name of the game. There could also be more impacts like the financial crisis in Dubai. So we are sticking to a slight recovery in 2010 and then back up to a sustainable level over time.”Other wild cards include the fuel price – while the world has been worrying about banks it has crept back up to US$80 a barrel – and whether the dollar will fall further. That would be bad for European exports, but good for US ones. It would be neutral or good for Chinese exports if that country maintains its peg to the dollar, but it could push the fuel price up even further.This is the problem for all forecasters – that apparently little things can have big impacts. After all, who would have thought in 2007 that the way banks repackage and sell on mortgages could lead to a 25 per cent fall in airfreight?For the full story read the latest issue of Air Cargo News, dated 15 January. To subscribe, click on ‘Subscribe’ above.

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