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Global Air Freight Sinks into Longest Recession since 2008

PHOTO: The Japan Times/Reuters

US-China trade war, falling business confidence, slowdown in China, German exports, and new: the temporary shutdown of Hong Kong’s airport, the largest cargo hub in the world.

By Wolf Richter | 11 October 2019

WOLF STREET — Demand for global air freight, domestic and international, as measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), fell by 3.9% in August compared to August last year, the 10th month in a row of year-over-year declines, the longest such period of declines since 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). But there have been steeper year-over-year drops more recently, including in February 2016, when air freight demand fell by nearly 7%.

In the largest region, Asia Pacific, which accounts for 35% of total air freight, demand fell by 5.0%, accounting for just under half the global decline (blue). In North America (purple) and Europe (yellow), each accounting for just under 24% of global air freight, demand fell respectively by 2.4% and 3.3% (chart: © International Air Transport Association, 2019. Air Freight Market Analysis August 2019. All Rights Reserved. Available on IATA Economics page).

“Shrinking global trade, political uncertainties, and weakness in some of the key macroeconomic indicators – particularly the new export orders component of the manufacturing PMI – continue to weigh on this month’s outcome,” the IATA report said. […]

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