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Global cargo market sags as softer economy points to gloomy Christmas

Global trade bellwethers like FedEx and Cathay Pacific Airways have cast a pall over the year-end holiday shopping season – the business slowdown they’re seeing points to weaker-than-expected consumer demand, not a Christmas bonanza.

The gloomy outlook comes as consumers globally struggle to cope with surging costs of food, fuel and housing. Even more spendthrift shoppers in China are tightening purse strings, sector watchers say, as the country’s harsh Covid-19 curbs have slammed the economy.

FedEx, which on Thursday withdrew a forecast it issued just three months ago, said a global demand slowdown accelerated at the end of August and was on pace to worsen in the November quarter. 

The Christmas holiday season is usually frantic for air cargo and shippers moving newly launched smartphones, toys, and apparel from factories in Asia to the United States and Europe.

But Western retailers including Costco Wholesale Group and Macy’s…

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