IATA World Cargo Symposium: Is China the key to future growth?

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China will be key to any future airfreight growth, but is also a danger to world trade according to analysts at the International Air Transport Asssociation’s (IATA) ninth World Cargo Symposium, held last week in Shanghai (China).

The growth of airfreight in 2014 was more than four per cent compared to 2013 and that represents 750,000 tonnes, according to the advisory practice, Seabury Group. Its senior vice president, Marco Bloemen, states that half of that 750,000 came from China and is related to high technology and consumer electronics. The Iphone and US demand for such products was one of the causes for this uplift, along with the West Coast sea port labour disputes that have been disrupting freight traffic.

However, according to IATA’s Julie Perovic China is one of the risks to a world economy that is improving, but is still fragile. “At this point in the [economic] cycle we would expect to see stronger growth, so while there is some pick up [in demand], the economy remains positive, but weak, compared to what we would typically be seeing,” Perovic says. The risk scenario Pervoic describes is called China hard landing, caused by a collapse in the Chinese property price bubble. 

In the risks and opportunities chart Perovic showed, this Chinese scenario and further conflict between Russia and Ukraine were the two reasons for the global economy to weaken. The scenario for stronger growth was called G7 boom. Yet, four members of the G7 group of leading world economies are European countries and three of those four are in the eurozone, a region and currency union described by Perovic as having slow growth.

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