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Business trends

Trade turbulence slows Asia air cargo for first time in 2.5 years

Leading indicator points to rough outlook for region's carriers and airports

Asia-Pacific airlines carried less cargo in November than they did a year earlier but still added more capacity. 

HONG KONG -- Airfreight traffic, often a leading indicator of trade trends, turned down in the Asia-Pacific region in November, the first fall in more than two-and-a-half years.

The drop is notable as the region is the busiest in the world for airfreight and home to many of the top cargo-handling airlines and airports. The decline comes amid a lull in U.S.-China trade tensions but suggests that worries about the outlook for more conflict or economic deceleration are already dampening activity.

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