Australian retail turnover fell 0.1 per cent in April 2019, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest ABS Retail Trade figures.

Retail continues to struggle, back on the slide

Australian retail turnover fell 0.1 per cent in April 2019, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.
This follows a rise of 0.3 per cent in March 2019.
“There were mixed results across industries,” said ABS director of quarterly economy-wide surveys Ben Faulkner. “We had falls in Household goods retailing (-0.9 per cent), Cafes, restaurant and takeaway food services (-0.7 per cent), and Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-1.2 per cent), which were offset by rises in Other retailing (0.8 per cent), Department stores (1.8 per cent), and Food retailing (0.2 per cent).”
In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in New South Wales (-0.4 per cent), Victoria (-0.4 per cent), the Northern Territory (-0.5 per cent), and the Australian Capital Territory (-0.2 per cent). There were rises in Queensland (0.7 per cent), South Australia (0.6 per cent), Western Australia (0.1 per cent), and Tasmania (0.3 per cent).
The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in April 2019, following a 0.2 per cent rise in March 2019. Compared to April 2018, the trend estimate rose 2.9 per cent.
Online retail turnover contributed 5.7 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms in April 2019, which was unchanged from March 2019. In April 2018, online retail turnover contributed 5.4 per cent to total retail.
More detailed industry analysis and further information on the statistical methodology is available in Retail Trade, Australia (cat no. 8501.0).

Women-shopping-in-supermarket-retail

Retail rises 0.3% in March

Australian retail turnover rose 0.3 per cent in March 2019, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.
This follows a 0.9 per cent rise in February 2019.
“Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.4 per cent) and Food retailing (0.4 per cent) led the rises,” said Ben Faulkner, director of quarterly economy-wide surveys. “Strength in food prices has contributed to rises, especially in supermarkets and grocery stores. Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.2 per cent) and Household goods retailing (0.2 per cent) also rose. The rises were partially offset by falls in Department stores (-1.5 per cent) and Other retailing (-0.4 per cent)”.
In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in Victoria (0.7 per cent), Queensland (0.6 per cent), New South Wales (0.2 per cent), Tasmania (0.4 per cent), South Australia (0.1 per cent), and the Northern Territory (0.7 per cent). The Australian Capital Territory was relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent) and Western Australia (-0.7 per cent) fell in seasonally adjusted terms in March 2019.
The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.3 per cent in March 2019, following a rise of 0.3 per cent in February 2019. Compared to March 2018, the trend estimate rose 3.0 per cent.
Online retail turnover contributed 5.7 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms in March 2019. In March 2018 online retail turnover contributed 5.1 per cent to total retail.
For the March quarter 2019, there was a fall of 0.1 per cent in seasonally adjusted volume terms. This follows a relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent) result in the December quarter 2018. The quarterly fall in volumes was led by Household goods retailing (-0.6 per cent), and Department stores (-1.2 per cent). Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.0 per cent), Other retailing (0.3 per cent), Food retailing (0.1 per cent), and Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.3 per cent) all rose in seasonally adjusted volume terms.

logistics growth illustrated with airliner with a globe and autoloader with boxes in a container

Logistics growth losing steam

Key logistics market growth rates fell in 2018 according to Transport Intelligence’s (Ti) global market size & growth forecast data.

  • The Global Freight Forwarding market grew 3.9% in 2018, a marked decline from an expansion of 8.0% in 2017
  • The Global Contract Logistics market was 4.9% bigger in 2018.
  • At 8.5%, the Global Express & Small Parcels market had the quickest rate of expansion amongst the logistics markets.
  • Slowing volume growth in the European Road Freight Transport market saw the growth rate slow to 2.9% in 2018.

Global Freight Forwarding

In a market heavily reliant on global trading conditions, growth in the global freight forwarding market fell from 8.0% in 2017 to 3.9% in 2018. The slowdown is not altogether surprising given the exceptional performance in 2017 when demand for air transport services surged as shippers rushed to re-stock inventories and move goods to market. As the restocking cycle drew to a close in early 2018, market expansion reduced substantially. Trade tensions between the US and China have had far-reaching implications for regional and global supply chains, which has affected forwarding growth across different countries.

Global Contract Logistics

While global contract logistics growth slowed in 2018, the change was very slight – the market grew by 4.9% in real terms, down from 5.0% in 2017. The US market performed relatively well, whilst China’s market is continuing show remarkable vigour. Manufacturing has previously been (and continues to be) a strong base for China’s contract logistics growth, but a growing consumer market led by internal investment, growing wages and a boom in e-commerce has created a vibrant opportunity in Chinese retail contract logistics.

Global Express & Small Parcels

An 8.5% expansion saw the global express & small parcels market grow rapidly in 2018, although the growth rate is a slowdown on the 9.7% seen in 2017. e-commerce is continuing to drive rapid growth in China’s express and parcels market, which is expanding much faster than the global growth rate. Although there are significant bright spots in areas such as healthcare and cross-border e-commerce, weaker macroeconomic conditions have played their part in slowing market growth, affecting major players, including FedEx.

European Road Freight Transport

Europe’s road freight market expanded 2.9% in 2018. Macroeconomic performance has been relatively limp compared against the rest of the world. The region’s major markets are facing significant headwinds – Germany sits close to recessionary territory as a result of softer external demand and disruption in its automotive sector, Italy is feeling the effects of mounting public debt, while Brexit uncertainty continues to harm investment into the UK economy.
“Ti’s new figures show robust growth across major global logistics markets. Growth rates are not flattering when compared against the previous year, where global GDP growth was the fastest it had been since 2011. Nonetheless, there have been significant opportunities for LSPs to grow top-line figures through the course of the year,” said Andy Ralls, analyst at Ti.
Note: All growth rates mentioned are in real terms (holding prices and exchange rates constant at 2018 levels) unless stated otherwise.

as air freight capacity becomes more available at lower costs, more companies are taking advantage of the situation.

Air freight update: up 3.5%, despite softening late 2018

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released full-year 2018 data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) grew by 3.5% compared to 2017. This was significantly lower than the extraordinary 9.7% growth recorded in 2017.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTK), rose by 5.4% in 2018, outpacing annual growth in demand. This exerted downward pressure on the load factor but yields proved resilient.
Air cargo’s performance in 2018 was sealed by a softening in demand in December. Year-on-year, December demand decreased by 0.5%. This was the worst performance since March 2016. Freight capacity, however, grew by 3.8%. This was the tenth month in a row that year-on-year capacity growth outstripped demand growth.
International e-commerce grew in 2018, which was a positive factor for the year. Yet, there was a softening of several key demand drivers:

  • The restocking cycle, during which businesses rapidly built up inventories to meet demand, ended in early 2018.
  • Global economic activity weakened.
  • The export order books of all major exporting nations, with the exception of the US, contracted in the second half of 2018.
  • Consumer confidence weakened compared to very high levels at the beginning of 2018.

“Air cargo demand lost momentum towards the end of 2018 in the face of weakening global trade, sagging consumer confidence and geopolitical headwinds,” said IATA’s director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. “Still, demand grew by 3.5% compared to 2017. We are cautiously optimistic that demand will grow in the region of 3.7% in 2019. But with the persistence of trade tensions and protectionist actions by some governments there is significant downside risk. Keeping borders open to people and to trade is critical.
“To attract demand in new market segments, the air cargo industry must improve its value proposition. Enabling modern processes with digitalization will help build a stronger foothold in e-commerce and the transport of time- and temperature-sensitive goods such as pharmaceuticals and perishables,” Mr de Juniac said.

Regional performance
Airlines in all regions with the exception of Africa reported an annual increase in demand in 2018.
Asia-Pacific carriers posted the weakest growth of any region in December 2018 with a decrease in demand of 4.5% compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 2.6%. The weaker performance in December contributed to growth in freight demand of only 1.7% in 2018 compared to 2017. Annual capacity increased 5.0%. The weaker performance of Asia-Pacific carriers in 2018 largely reflects a slowing in demand for exports from the region’s major exporters (China, Japan and Korea). Signs of a moderation in economic activity in China and an escalation of trade tensions continue to pose a downside risk to air cargo in Asia-Pacific.
North American airlines posted the fastest growth of any region for the seventh consecutive month in December 2018 with an increase in demand of 2.9% compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 4.5%. This contributed to an annual growth in demand in 2018 of 6.8%, matching the rate of capacity increase. The strength of the US economy and consumer spending have helped support the demand for air cargo over the past year, benefiting US carriers.
European airlines posted a 1.9% year-on-year increase in freight demand in December 2018 and a capacity rise of 3.7%. The improved performance in December contributed to an annual growth in demand for air cargo of 3.2% in 2018. Capacity increased by 4.3% in the same year. Weaker manufacturing conditions for exporters, particularly in Germany, one of Europe’s key export markets, along with mixed economic indicators impacted demand in 2018.
Middle Eastern carriers’ freight volumes increased 0.1% year-on-year in December and capacity increased 4.5%. This contributed to an annual increase in demand of 3.9% in 2018 – the third fastest growth rate of all the regions. Annual capacity increased 6.2%. The region continues to be affected by geopolitical issues.
Latin American airlines experienced a decrease in year-on-year demand of 0.1% in December after three months of positive growth. Capacity increased by 6.0%. Despite a decrease in demand, it’s worth noting that the within South America market continues to perform strongly, with international demand up almost 20% year-on-year. Annual growth in freight demand among Latin America carriers in 2018 increased by 5.8% – the second fastest of all regions. Annual capacity increased 3.4% in 2018.
African carriers’ saw freight demand decrease by 2.2%, in December 2018, compared to the same month in 2017. This was significantly less than the 9.4% decrease the previous month. Capacity increased by 4.9% year-on-year. It’s worth noting that seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes, despite being 7.7% lower than their peak in mid-2017, are still 50% higher than their most recent trough in late-2015. Annual growth in freight demand among Africa carriers in 2018 decreased by 1.3% and capacity grew by 1%.
 

Air freight boom runs out of steam

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), rose 1.7% in March 2018, compared to the same period the year before. This was five percentage points lower than the February result and the slowest pace of growth in 22 months.
The year-on-year increase in capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTK) fell to 4.4% compared to 6.3% in February. This was the first time in 20 months, however, that annual capacity rose faster than demand.
The sharp growth slowdown is principally due to the end of the restocking cycle, during which businesses rapidly increased their inventory to meet unexpectedly high demand. A softening of global trade is also evident.
“It’s normal that growth slows at the end of a restocking cycle. That clearly has happened. Looking ahead we remain optimistic that air cargo demand will grow by 4-5% this year. But there are obviously some headwinds. Oil prices have risen strongly, and economic growth is patchy. The biggest damage could be political. The implementation of protectionist measures would be an own-goal for all involved—especially the US and China,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Regional performance
All regions except Latin America reported year-on-year declines in growth in March, with Africa in negative territory.
African FTK fell by 3.4% in March. This result may, however, be influenced by the comparison with unusually strong growth in March 2017. Indeed, Africa has reported the fastest growth of all regions for 17 of the last 18 months, so it would be premature to suggest this is the start of a negative trend.
Asia-Pacific carriers reported FTK growth of just 0.7% compared to the same period a year ago. Export orders in Japan and Korea have fallen in recent months and the region remains particularly exposed to the impact of protectionist measures.
European airlines’ FTK rose 1.0% in March compared to March 2017. A stronger Euro and a softening of export orders in Germany partially explain the result, but the seasonally-adjusted trend in FTK has been slowing in recent months.
Latin American airlines posted growth of 15.5% in March compared to a year ago, the only region to improve on its performance compared to February 2018. Freight volumes in the region have been recovering over the past 18 months, in part due to the better performance of the Brazilian economy.
Middle East carriers saw growth of 0.8% in March compared to March 2017. This is consistent with the general weakening in regional performance over recent months, and in particular may reflect an especially strong March 2017 result.
North American carriers’ freight volumes expanded 3.9% compared to March 2017. The US inventory-to-sales ratio has risen in 2018, indicating the boost to cargo growth from restocking is over.
You can view March air freight results (pdf) here.

Airfreight suffers in downturn

Australian air cargo statistics show a 5.7 per cent drop in international airfreight for the year to October 2008, with Sydney Sydney securing its position as the country’s top international freight hub, Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) figures reveal.
 
Sydney handled 31,473 tonnes of airfreight in the year to October 2008,with Melbourne a distant second, handling 17,295 tonnes. Brisbane and Perth followed, with 7,163 and 6,215 tonnes respectively.
 
Overall volumes for the country were 64,166 tonnes compared with 68,045 tonnes in the year to October 2007. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that Asia-Pacific airfreight volumes were down 11% in October.
 
The Sydney-Auckland route was the busiest with 4,964 tonnes, while the Melbourne-Singapore route recorded 4,484 tonnes (7%).
 
Qantas remains the country’s leading airfreight airline with 23.4% of the market, down 0.3% from the corresponding period in 2007. Singapore Airlines was up 1.1%, to 16%.
 
Fifty-two international scheduled airlines operated services to and from Australia during the month, which included six dedicated freight airlines, according to the BITRE report.

Australian container numbers down

The latest edition of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government publication, Waterline, has reported that the five port total of containers moved decreased from 733,677 in the March quarter 2007 to 707,166 in the June quarter 2007, a decrease of 3.6%.

Waterline also reported that the five port average container turnaround time was 22.7 minutes in the March quarter 2007 and 21.9 minutes in the June quarter 2007. The five port total of trucks processed decreased from 445,368 to 428,738, a decrease of 3.7%.

The five port average truck turnaround time was 39.1 minutes compared to 38 minutes while the five port average crane rate increased from 27 containers per hour in the March quarter 2007 to 27.2 in the June quarter 2007. The five port average vessel working rate has increased over the period from 36.7 containers per hour to 37.4.

News item courtes of the International Cargo Handling and Coordination Association (ICHCA) – contact  ichcaaus@bigpond.com for more information.

©2019 All Rights Reserved. MHD Magazine is a registered trademark of Prime Creative Media.