Air cargo volumes decelerated significantly for Middle East carriers during May, according to latest figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Freight volumes grew 2.4 percent in May compared to 6.9 percent reported the previous month.

IATA said the decrease mainly reflected developments from a year ago rather than a substantive change in the current freight trend.

It added that seasonally-adjusted freight volumes continue to trend upwards at a comparatively modest pace by the region’s standards. This is consistent with signs of a broader moderation in global trade. Capacity in the region increased 3.3 percent.

Globally, IATA said freight demand rose 4.2 percent in May compared to the same period the year before. This was slightly down from the 5.2 percent in April.

IATA said that after a weak start to 2018, demand for global air freight has now resumed a modest trend upwards. However, the rapid growth seen in 2017 is now over, with demand growing at a significantly slower pace in 2018.

“We expect air cargo demand to grow by a modest 4 percent in 2018. That’s an uptick from a very weak start to the year. But headwinds are strengthening with growing friction among governments on trade. We still expect demand to grow, but those expectations are dampened with each new tariff introduced. Experience tells us that trade wars, in the long run, only produce losers,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

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