The main causes were declines in exports to the USA and the EU, although the overall trends masked significant variations in export performances between Asean member countries.
The worst performing country was the Philippines, where clothing exports declined by 17.0%. Malaysian textile and clothing exports were down by 12.4%, Thai textile and clothing exports by 12.2% and Indonesian textile and clothing exports by 6.3%.
There were some bright spots, however, with Cambodian textile and clothing exports up by 8.7% and Vietnamese textile and clothing exports up by a similar 8.5%.
The declines in textile and clothing exports from Malaysia and Thailand reflected sharp declines in exports to the EU and the USA. However, both countries are less dependent on these two markets than are most of their Asean counterparts, and their exports to other markets were, for the most part, buoyant.
Indonesian textile and clothing exports to the USA and the EU also declined but sales were buoyed by domestic demand, which continued to surge.
In the Philippines, the decline in clothing exports was due to lower demand in the USA and most other foreign markets. Sales in the EU market, by contrast, increased.
Sales of Cambodian textiles and clothing in the EU market surged by 32.4% following the EU’s decision to relax the rules of origin of its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme. Sales in the US market, however, fell by 2.0%.
Vietnamese textile and clothing exports, meanwhile, seemed to be unaffected as the industry posted growth in sales in the EU, the USA and Japan, as well as several other countries, including China, Russia and South Korea.
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