CATHAY Pacific Airways is expecting 16 to 18 per cent growth in cargo volume this year, about the same as last year, according to cargo general manager Robert Cutler. Last year, the main growth was recorded on Europe-Asia routes because of changing consumer patterns in Asia, a trend which continued into the first quarter of this year. Mr Cutler said there had also been strong growth in trade between north and southeast Asia. This was mainly because companies in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong were shifting some of their production bases to southeast Asia. This had resulted in parts and materials, most of them high-technology items, going to southeast Asia and finished products flowing back to north Asia. Mr Cutler said intra-Asia cargo flow was expected to see further growth, partly because of the rising yen, which would force more Japanese manufacturers to shift production offshore. Exports from the United States had picked up recently, he said, not necessarily because of the weak dollar, but because of changing consumer patterns in Asia - a trend that was likely to continue this year.