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Chinese clothing losing grip over US markets
Jun '11
US clothing consumption maintained steady growth in the first quarter this year. The growth rate of US global clothing imports accelerated 10.91 percent over the same time last year, but the rate of imports from China fell 7.31 percent.

This reflects the fact that, China's clothing exports to the United States are facing challenges from rivals in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other countries.

According to statistical data from the US Ministry of Labor, in the first quarter of this year, apparel spending of US residents grew 5.56 percent; the rate was 2.73 percent higher than the growth of spending on personal care products.

In addition, according to statistics from U.S. Department of Commerce, US apparel retail sales grew by 4.78 percent over the same period; the rate was also 2.61 percent higher than the growth rate, in the same period, last year.

In the first quarter of 2011, US global imports of clothing registered US $17.225 billion, an increase of 13.31 percent year on year and the rate was 10.91 percent higher, compared with a year earlier.

However these imports from China rose only 7.61 percent, year on year to reach US $5.643 billion in the first quarter of this year, down 5.7 percent from growth rate of US global imports.

In terms of volume, imports of US clothing from China were 7.69 percent, lower than US global imports for the same time this year, while those from Vietnam climbed 16.52 percent, from Bangladesh 22.53 percent and from Indonesia 16.67 percent.

This clearly reflects that, China's clothing products are being seriously challenged by rival clothing exporters from other countries.

In first quarter of this year, the price of US apparel imports from China hiked by 8.19 percent year on year, 2.44 percent higher than price growth of US global apparel imports, and was also far higher than price changes of Vietnam, Mexico, Indonesia and other countries.

It was the major reason for the decline of US apparel imports from China.

Editorial note –
Even by considering that factors like hike in raw material prices is common to all countries, Chinese apparel exporters have been weighed down by abnormal increase in labour wages, due to which it is losing its competitive edge.

This is creating space for nimble-footed countries like Vietnam and Bangladesh to seize the initiative.

Fibre2fashion News Desk

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