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April 5 (Reuters) - Demand for global air freight rose 8.4 percent in February, accelerating after a 6.9 percent rise in January and reflecting improving world trade, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Wednesday.
Demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres, also grew faster than capacity, which shrank 0.4 percent. That meant load factors improved 3.5 percentage points to 43.5 percent and gave yields a boost, IATA said.
Adjusted for the extra day from 2016's leap year, demand in February rose 12 percent, the association added. Demand was also driven by increased shipments of semiconductor materials used in consumer electronics
"February further added to the cautious optimism building in air cargo markets," IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement. "While there are signs of stronger world trade, concerns over the current protectionist rhetoric are still very real." (Reporting by Bartosz Dabrowski; Editing by Victoria Bryan)