22 February 2012
US cotton apparel imports dramatically fell in the last quarter of 2011 in volume terms, even sharply declining in value terms whatever the strong increase in unit prices. By contrast, shipments of man-made fiber apparel further rose over the same period, as reflected by our series of statistical tables.
US apparel imports stagnated in value terms in the first quarter last year, according to recently released official data which were retreated by EmergingTextiles.com
Total apparel imports even fell 14.2% in volume terms, from the same period a year earlier.
The depression of the US apparel import market actually hides a shift from cotton to man-made fiber products after cotton prices surged in the second part of 2010.
The need to partially offset the impact of higher labor costs in Asia may also durably boost demand for less expensive polyester clothing.
US imports of cotton apparel dropped by 22.7% in October-December, in volume terms.
Shipments of man-made fiber apparel were down only 2.7% in the meantime.
In US$ terms, cotton apparel lost 7% while MMF apparel imports were up more than 10%, by contrast.
A double-digit decline was reported in all cotton categories with women/girls cotton woven shirts (341 category) even plunging by 39%, for instance.
Cotton trousers for men and boys lost 21%, still in volume terms. Cotton brassiere imports were down 46%.
Most man-made fiber apparel categories continued to experience a rise in volume terms, especially in 639 (women/girls knit shirts).
However, MMF trousers for men and boys fell 23% in 647.
Unit prices continued dramatically rising with a 15.86% increase, on average.
Cotton apparel prices were up more than 20% while MMF apparel prices rose only 13.6%.
In 347 (cotton trousers for men and boys), unit prices were up 31%, while only rising 14% in 348 (same product for women and girls).
Apparel imports finally declined .56% in volume terms over the full twelve months of 2011 while up 8.77% in US$ terms after unit values rose 12.78%..
Average prices had decreased by 9% in 2010 and were last year 3% up from their level two years ago, on average.
Cotton apparel prices even surged 11%, compare with a 1% decline for man-made fiber apparel, from their averaged level in 2009.
Prices of cotton apparel gained 17% in 2011, while MMF apparel prices only rose 9.65%.
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