(MT Newswires) -- DHL Group CEO Tobias Meyer presents a cautious forecast for the year due to a slow start and a subdued outlook for the coming months, particularly in the first half. He sees a certain sluggishness in the global economy and trade, indicating that the B2B sector is not recovering as quickly as expected, in contrast to the B2C sector, which is enjoying a positive trend thanks to e-commerce.

Freight volumes have fallen since the peak of the pandemic, and lower rates were expected. The weakness is particularly noticeable in B2B shipments in Europe and in trade from China to the US. Meyer suggests that the impact of interest rate rises has yet to be fully absorbed by the economy, and that the Asian property sector could influence consumer confidence.

DHL plans to increase its share buyback programme to €4 billion, while continuing to invest in its e-commerce business and looking for small to medium-sized acquisitions. Meyer clarified that DHL has not expressed interest in buying Deutsche Bahn's Schenker logistics unit, focusing on other ways to use shareholder capital.

Regarding the Red Sea crisis, Meyer mentions that shipping lines prefer to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, extending journeys by 10 to 12 days. This represents a challenge for supply chains, but does not have the macroeconomic impact on fares seen during the pandemic. Strikes by train drivers and disruptions at airports in Germany pose operational challenges, but DHL is managing these disruptions to avoid disruption to the supply chain.

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