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Luisa Cheshire

BY LUISA CHESHIRE

US-China trade war hits air cargo

The US-China trade war is weighing heavily on the airfreight sector, with global demand falling for the tenth consecutive month, says IATA

US-China trade war hits air cargo

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Global airfreight demand contracted by 3.9 per cent in August 2019 compared to the same period in 2018, marking the tenth consecutive month of year-on-year decline in freight volumes - the longest period since the global financial crisis in 2008, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced today (9 October).

Air cargo continues to face strong headwinds from the intensifying trade war between the US and China, as well as weakness in some of the key economic indicators and rising political uncertainties worldwide, the IATA said. 

Trade in emerging countries has been underperforming that of advanced nations throughout most of 2019. This is due to higher sensitivity of the emerging economies to trade tensions, rising political instability and sharp currency depreciation in some of the key emerging markets, the association added.

“The impact of the US-China trade war on air freight volumes was the clearest yet in August," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's director general and CEO.

"Year-on-year demand fell by 3.9 per cent. Not since the global financial crisis in 2008 has demand fallen for ten consecutive months. This is deeply concerning. And with no signs of a détente on trade, we can expect the tough business environment for air cargo to continue. Trade generates prosperity. Trade wars don’t. That’s something governments should not forget.” 

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

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