As Asia's premium airlines enter earnings season, their prospects are looking dire amid a double whammy of a strong greenback and higher oil prices.
"It's very rare to see the U.S. dollar (USD) and oil move in the same direction. Both hit airlines' earnings; fuel is 30 to 40 percent of costs and 70 to 80 percent of total costs are in USD, including fuel of course," explained Michael Beer, vice president of Asia Pacific transportation and infrastructure at Citi in an emailed note.
The dollar and oil typically enjoy an inverse correlation but the energy market's current supply-side dynamics, specifically production cuts from major exporters such as OPEC members and Russia, are to blame for the current phenomenon, he continued.
"Cathay and Singapore Airlines are losing their relative edge and they are disintermediated by Gulf, Chinese, and U.S. carriers," Beer said.