Based on an analysis of merchandise in all fibre types, natural and manmade (MMF), apparel trade by weight was down 2% in 2012, but for 2013, according to the latest estimates by PCI Fibres, it could come back by 4% to reach 16.5 million tons. Taking merchandise that is predominantly in MMF, apparel trade is growing by 8% this year, to reach close to 8 million tons.
In textiles, defined as spun yarns, fabrics for onward processing, and household and technical articles, growth across all the fibre types is up this year by an estimated 7.5%, to reach some 24.7 million tons.
Within this, the MMF part is put as growing by 10% to reach 13.7 million tons in 2013. PCI Fibres also takes note of the trade in other products containing MMF, such as shoes, luggage, autos and the rest. This market in 2012 totalled an estimated 3 million tons in fibre terms, and is expected to grow by 5% in 2013.
In such analysis it is not possible to separate out merchandise that is imported at one stage of production and then re-exported at another. There is thus an element of double counting. Fabrics shipped from China to SE Asia might, for example, be converted to apparel for export to Europe or the USA.
As the figures stand however, the direct fibre weight of textiles, apparel and other merchandise traded across regions in 2012 represented just over half of global consumer demand; while in the MMF sector by itself such trade represented 40%. International trade in apparel and textiles means more to the natural fibres sector than it does to MMF.
But irrespective of the fibre type, international trade is of vital importance to the well-being of the textiles economy worldwide. This can be seen sector by sector. At the forthcoming PCI Fibres Conference, 7/8 November in Hong Kong, a strong team of speakers on fibres and their raw materials will present papers on many product markets across the main regions.
There will also be a strategic view from Paul Krake who is well-known for his blog “View from the Peak” and his many interviews on television and the media. Paul’s recent analyses have ranged from the state of credit expansion in China to the effects of “tapering” or default by the USA. He has particularly strong views on the future redevelopment of manufacturing in the USA. His contribution to the debate will add a distinctive dimension to the PCI Fibres Conference.
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