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GENEVA: July 04, 2018. IATA reports a 4.2 percent rise in cargo traffic for its member airlines in May compared to the same month last year, down from 5.2 percent in April, as capacity rose 6.2 percent year-on-year.

In a mid-year industry outlook IATA has revised its 2018 air cargo forecast down to 4.0 percent from 4.5 percent six months ago. May was just the second month in two years in which annual growth has lagged behind a five-year average of 5.1 percent.

Ethiopian B737 MAX 8IATA notes three indicators for the slower pace: the re-stocking cycle which required quick delivery to meet customer needs is over; the new export orders component of the global manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is at a 21- month low; and global trade appears to be softening as trade tensions increase.

"We expect air cargo demand to grow by a modest 4.0 percent in 2018. That’s an uptick from a very weak start to the year. But headwinds are strengthening with growing friction among governments on trade,” commented IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. “We still expect demand to grow, but those expectations are dampened with each new tariff introduced. Experience tells us that trade wars, in the long run, only produce losers," he added.

As Ethiopian Airlines takes delivery of the first of 30 B737 MAX 8s on order, IATA reports African carriers saw freight demand contract 2.0 percent in May compared to the same month last year as capacity jumped 20.4 percent. Seasonally adjusted international freight volumes have now trended downwards at an annualized rate of 15 percent over the past six months.

In other regions, Asia-Pacific airlines saw a 4.9 percent increase in demand in May year-on-year as capacity rose 7.4 percent; North America airlines’ freight volumes expanded 5.9 percent as capacity increased 5.4 percent; European carriers posted a 2.3 percent rise, a slowdown from 3.5 percent the previous month, as capacity rose 6.0 percent; carriers in the Middle East saw freight volumes grow 2.4 percent as capacity expanded 3.3 percent; and airlines in Latin America experienced an 11.4 percent growth in demand as capacity rose just 1.5 percent.

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