Middle East carriers post slowest regional cargo traffic growth in January

Middle East carriers’ freight volumes increased 4.4 percent in January, the slowest posted for just the third time in the past decade. (Courtesy Etihad Airways)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Middle East carriers post slowest regional cargo traffic growth in January

DUBAI: Middle East airlines posted the slowest regional cargo traffic growth in January, weighed by the challenging political environment in the Middle East, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.
Freight volumes increased 4.4 percent during the month, while capacity increased 6.3 percent, the slowest freight ton kilometers (FTKs) posted by regional airlines posted for just the third time in the past decade. FTK is an industry bellwether that measures how much freight business an airline gets.
Meanwhile, on a global scale, freight demand rose 8 percent in January compared with the year-earlier period, and was up from the 5.8 percent growth posted in December 2017.
“We expect demand for air cargo to taper to a more normal 4.5 percent growth rate for 2018. But there are potential headwinds. If President Trump follows through on his promise to impose sanctions on aluminum and steel imports, there is a very real risk of a trade war. Nobody wins when protectionist measures escalate,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said in a statement.
Carriers from the Asia-Pacific reported a 7.7 percent increase in freight volumes during the said month, driven by strong demand from the region’s major exporters China and Japan, which reported more active shipping activities to Europe.
North American airlines’ freight volumes meanwhile expanded 7.5 percent in January, and capacity increased 4.2 percent.
The strength of the US economy and the US dollar have improved the inbound freight market in recent years, IATA said.
European carriers posted a 10.5 percent increase in freight volumes, thanks to brisk demand for new export for new export orders among the region’s manufacturers.
Latin American airlines reported an 8 percent uptick in freight volumes, which coincided with signs of economic recovery in the region’s largest economy, Brazil. In Africa, carriers from the region reported that freight demand went up by 12.9 percent in January, boosted ‘by very strong growth on the trade lanes to and from Asia.’


EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

Updated 23 June 2018
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EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

  • Trump threatened to impose 20 percent tariff
  • Shares in carmakers slip on trade war fears

PARIS: The European Union will respond to any US move to raise tariffs on cars made in the bloc, a senior European Commission official said, the latest comments in an escalating trade row.
US President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on all imports of EU-assembled cars, a month after his administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports posed a national security threat.
“If they decide to raise their import tariffs, we’ll have no choice, again, but to react,” EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told French newspaper Le Monde.
“We don’t want to fight (over trade) in public via Twitter. We should end the escalation,” he said in the comments published on Saturday.
The European Autos Stocks Index fell on Friday after Trump’s tariff threat. Shares US carmakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. also dropped.
“If these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the US Build them here!” Trump tweeted.
The US Commerce Department has a deadline of February 2019 to investigate whether imports of automobiles and auto parts pose a risk to US national security.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday the department aimed to wrap up the probe by late July or August. The Commerce Department plans to hold two days of public comments in July on its investigation of auto imports.
Trump has repeatedly singled out German auto imports to the United States for criticism.
Trump told carmakers at a meeting in the White House on May 11 that he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 or 25 percent on some imported vehicles and sharply criticized Germany’s automotive trade surplus with the United States.
The United States currently imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on imported passenger cars from the EU and a 25 percent tariff on imported pickup trucks. The EU imposes a 10 percent tariff on imported US cars.
The tariff proposal has drawn sharp condemnation from Republican lawmakers and business groups. A group representing major US and foreign automakers has said it is “confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk.”
The US Chamber of Commerce said US auto production had doubled over the past decade, and said tariffs “would deal a staggering blow to the very industry it purports to protect and would threaten to ignite a global trade war.”
German automakers Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG build vehicles at plants in the United States. BMW is one of South Carolina’s largest employers, with more than 9,000 workers in the state.
The United States in 2017 accounted for about 15 percent of worldwide Mercedes-Benz and BMW brand sales. It accounts for 5 percent of Volkswagen’s VW brand sales and 12 percent of its Audi brand sales.