High-tech air cargo shipments on the Asia-U.S. lane are on the rise in the past few months after more than a year of sluggish activity.
Although January activity was robust in anticipation of the Chinese New Year, analysts at Stifel Nicolaus warned against seeing too much into these robust numbers.
Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals and Asia Airfreight Terminals experienced a combined 18.9-percent, year-over-year, growth in January. This looks impressive, but is a bit skewed because of the impacts of the Chinese holidays and the Lunar New Year in 2011. Analysts said after hitting bottom in 2009, there has been a gradual increase in throughput activity.
Exports from Hong Kong to the rest of Asia rose by 25.7 percent, year over year, with growth reaching across all areas of the region. Exports to the Middle East rose by 21.8 percent, with North American exports rising by 16.1 percent. European and South American exports both grew by 7.8 percent.
South American exports seem to be the biggest variable here, as year-over-year growth topped 40 percent in December, analysts wrote. The Middle East has shown steady improvement since a negative-growth October, and Europe and North America are showing slow gains.
Stifel Nicolaus analysts wrote that January growth may be simply an anomaly due to the holiday.
Due to these overall good numbers, Stifel Nicolaus is predicting a good year for Expeditors International, which relies on a lot of transpacific eastbound activity. The company reports its earnings next week.
“Even if next week does not bring a strong earnings report, we believe the wind should be at the company's back this year,” the analysts said. “A tech inventory restocking should lead to improving fundamentals and a higher share price.” - Jon Ross