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July Air Cargo Volume and Revenues at Yearly Lows

The volume of air cargo transported in July rose a scant 0.7% month over month, and both revenues and yield continue to slide. The index readings were the worst so far in 2015.

The data were reported Monday morning by WorldACD, which claims to maintain the world’s largest air cargo market database. The volume (weight) index rang in at 116.2, the revenue index totaled 95.9 and the yield index, a measure of the average price paid by customers to transport one ton a distance of one mile, came in at 82.5. The indexes are moving averages for the past 12 months and are based on a value of 100 assigned at the end of 2008.

Cargo movements by ships, planes, railroads and trucks are usually viewed as bellwethers, if not leading indicators, of the state of the economy looking out nine months. With that in mind, WorldACD compared cargo shipments originating in China and Hong Kong combined with shipments originating in the rest of the world. Here is what they found:

  • For the past 12 months, China/Hong Kong shipments grew 3.1%, compared with growth of 4.5% for the rest of the world.
  • For the prior 12-month period, China/Hong Kong growth totaled 7.9%, compared with 5.5% in the rest of the world.
  • For the past nine months, China/Hong Kong shipment growth is 1.8%, compared with growth of 3.8% in the rest of the world.

The other side of the equation includes shipment growth into China/Hong Kong from the rest of the world. For the past nine months, inbound volume rose 3.5%, roughly even with a 3.4% increase in worldwide growth. Inbound shipments from Africa rose 22%, shipments from North America rose 17.5% and shipments from Asia/Pacific rose 7.9%.

China’s push to become more of a consuming nation apparently has been working, but the country’s exporters have been paying the bill. The government tried to stem the outbound flow of capital by devaluing the currency and then injecting liquidity into the equity markets. Neither worked particularly well and the effects should be reflected, at least in part, as future air cargo data are published. It is worth keeping an eye on, that’s for sure.

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By Paul Ausick