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November 2017 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis
Air freight volumes post another month of robust growth in November

Another robust month of FTK growth in November
Year-on-year growth in industry-wide freight tonne kilometres accelerated to 8.8% year-on-year in November, up from 5.8% in October. The result confirmed industry reports of buoyant activity during the traditional period of strong demand seen every Q4.

Having risen by 9.7% in year-on-year terms over the first 11 months of 2017, air freight volumes remain on track for their fastest full year of growth since the postcrisis rebound in 2010. Putting this into context, the current pace of growth is around three times the tenyear average growth rate of 3.3%.

The SA upward trend in volumes has moderated…

Having said that, the upward trend in SA FTKs clearly slowed during the second half of last year. Over the past six months SA air freight volumes have trended upwards at an annualized rate of around 4%, well down on the double-digit pace seen in late-2016 and early-2017. 

As we have noted before, this surge in growth followed by a moderation is consistent with signs that the global restocking cycle peaked in early-2017, and the related cyclical upturn – in which air freight tends to outperform world trade volumes – looks to have run its course.

…but growth is carrying momentum into H1 2018
Notwithstanding this recent easing in the FTK growth trend, a number of the fundamental indicators of air freight demand continue to suggest that annual FTK growth will remain supported in H1 2018.

Take, for example, the new export orders component of the global manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). Having tracked sideways during much of 2017, the indicator climbed close to a seven-year high during Q4 2017. 

Highlights of the November 2017 Air Freight Market Analysis

  • Global freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) rose by 8.8% year-on-year in November and remain on track for their fastest full year of growth since 2010.
  • The upward trend in seasonally adjusted (SA) volumes has slowed over the past six months. However, key indicators of cargo demand indicate that FTK growth is carrying momentum into the first half of 2018.
  • Int’l FTK growth rose in year-on-year terms in most regions in Nov, and stayed in double-digit territory in Africa.
  • Freight capacity grew by 4.0% year-on-year in Nov, lagging demand growth for the 16th month in a row. Download the full document here. 

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