22 July 2010
EU's import prices declined this year in a large number of clothing categories, reflecting the additional pressure from European buyers. A series of countries were able lowering their prices or offering cheaper products, like China, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, while other origins had to raise their prices or shift to higher-end clothing, like Indonesia, India or even Vietnam, as reflected by our series of statistical tables, detailing EU's import prices per H4-digit product categories.
EU import prices fell in the first quarter of the year in euro terms, in most important categories.
This is partly due to a higher average euro over the period, in US$ terms, compared with a year earlier.
However, US$ prices also declined, reflecting the need for lower prices in the post-recession economy.
Consumers are more price-sensitive than ever, with European buyers putting pressure on their suppliers in low-cost countries.
Not all supplying countries were able to comply with new price requirements, however.
While Bangladeshi prices fell in most categories this year, Vietnam was forced to raise its prices and/or shift to higher-quality products.
Import prices of Vietnamese products surged in a series of knit clothing categories, like men/boys shirts (+40%).
Indonesia also raised its US$ prices in a large number of product categories, although less dramatically.
This is reflecting a strong rise in the rupiah over the past year.
Indian suppliers similarly increased their unit prices in first quarter shipments to the European Union.
Indian prices even jumped by 29% and 18% for woven shirts (men/boys and women/girls, respectively).
Chinese prices continued declining at the same time, with a double-digit decrease still observed for knit shirts, in US$ terms.
Compared with other countries, Chinese prices are now below average in most product categories.
With production costs sharply increasing in China, domestic exporters could be however tempted returning to higher-priced products, like already experienced during the quota period.