USA and Europe continue to show positive momentum
The International Air Transport Association (Iata) released data showing airfreight markets in March were up by 5.9% compared to a year ago and capacity grew by 3.4%. While this marks a significant improvement in volumes compared to March 2013, much of the growth took place in the final quarter of 2013 (over and above the usual year-end volume growth). Since the beginning of the year, air cargo volumes have been basically flat. This plateau in volumes is consistent with the recent pause in improvements to business confidence and world trade.
Business conditions in the USA and Europe, however, provide a reason to be cautiously optimistic for a resumption of growth in the months ahead. Rising export orders, in particular, are expected to give positive momentum to US and European markets. But this is balanced against the impact of a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing which is now into its fourth month. This has already impacted emerging Asian countries' exports, which contracted in February.