Economic pressures continue to hamper consumer spending, and industry players are not expecting to see the usual increase in demand as factories close for the two-week holiday.
According to a global freight forwarder, the year-end holiday in 2022 did not deplete stock levels.
For this reason, a limited uptick in demand is expected after the Chinese Lunar New Year period.
Rate data provider TAC Index said rates were trending downwards, which seems to confirm the lack of a Chinese New Year rush.
“There were no signs yet of any rise towards a ‘mini peak’ ahead of Chinese New Year, with outbound Shanghai [rate index] falling steeply by 10.3% week on week, leaving that index down 40.8% year on year,” TAC Index said in its weekly market summary.
However, there are indications factories were preparing for a rise in COVID cases after the holiday due to more mixing as people return home for the break.
“Some sources said Chinese suppliers were ramping up production ahead of a potential rise in infections over Chinese New Year, though others suggested local COVID levels may have already peaked in December,” TAC noted.
Data provider CLIVE also identified the potential impact of rising COVID cases: “What lies ahead remains uncertain. After a surprisingly strong start for the air cargo market in January 2022, this new year will likely be impacted by the earlier Chinese New Year and growing concerns of rising COVID levels which, in China, is already impacting some factory production.”
Source: Air Cargo News