U.S. Apparel Imports: Latest and Long-Term Trends
US apparel imports have sharply fallen in February, from a year earlier, with shipments being obviously depressed in the first two months of the year. China is more negatively affected whereas Vietnam is also weakened by the fall. Our monthly review covers US apparel import data, with historical trends being analyzed over the 2000-2017 period including cotton vs man-made fiber apparel, and China vs Rest of World (RoW) and vs Vietnam.
US apparel imports have sharply fallen in February, losing 11.8% in volume terms from the same month a year earlier. In value terms, shipments to the US market have even plunged by 13.6% after unit prices have declined 2%. It is the lowest drop in unit values since May last year, meaning that US buyers find it difficult to get lower prices these days.
The rise of labor costs in Asia and the lack of productivity gains explain the weaker decrease of unit prices.The retreat back to lower quality products may also be more difficult and explain the weaker drop in prices.
Over the first two months of the year, US apparel imports have lost 1% in volume terms, compared with a surge of 12.8% in the same period of 2016.
In dollar terms, US imports have declined 4.5% this year against a rise of 7.6% in 2016.
China is more negatively affected by the fall of shipments with its products losing 16.8% in volume terms in February whereas other nations were down 8.5%.
The new year holidays have fallen in January this year, possibly affecting the level of February shipments.Imports from Vietnam have declined 8.9% in volume terms in February.
Cotton apparel imports have been weaker than man-made fiber apparel which have gained new shares of the US import market, as a result.