After dropping slightly in July, apparel imports into the US recovered in August, increasing 1.6 per cent. The recovery was primarily due to an increase in imports of capital goods, consumer goods, and industrial supplies and materials. A rise in travel and transport also helped boost imports.
China, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Indonesia were the top sources of US apparel imports in July. Imports from Vietnam grew 20 per cent over June of last year, while those from China fell by 2 per cent.
On a 12-month smoothed basis, however, which corrects for volatility of data in a particular month, apparel import growth slowed to 2 per cent in August, its slowest monthly rate in over a year, an indication that apparel import growth will be slowing in the coming months.
Apparel exports rose 4 per cent, on top of impressive 6 per cent gains in both June and July, and slightly outpacing overall goods and services export growth of 3.9 per cent. On a 12-month smoothed basis, apparel exports accelerated by 4.3 per cent in August, even with July.
Canada is the biggest market for US apparel exports, followed by Mexico, the UK, Japan and Honduras. Apparel exports to El Salvador have grown 15.2 per cent so far this year and to Chile by 13 per cent. Exports to Germany have grown by 8.5 per cent while those to the Netherlands have dropped by 8 per cent.