Are US imports of textile and clothing slowing down? The latest OTEXA figures could be an early indication of this, with US imports in February 6% lower than in January, even as imports compared to the previous years have witnessed robust growth.
US imports of textiles and clothing increased by 39.4% in February 2022, compared to February 2021. Imports of textiles and apparel in February 2022 totalled 8091.8 million square metre equivalent (MSME).
Textile imports registered a much higher growth compared to apparel imports. Textile imports in February 2022 at 5465.3 MSME were 46.3% higher compared to February 2021 imports. US apparel imports in February this year, at 2626.5 MSME showed a growth of 27% from February 2021.
Imports of textiles and apparel were 16,701.2 MSME for the year-to-date February 2022, an increase of 38.9% from year-to-date February 2021. Imports of textiles were 11,460.7 MSME for the year-to-date February 2022, an increase of 46.6% from the year-to-date February 2021.
Apparel imports for the year-to-date February 2022 were 5,240.5 MSME, up 24.7% from the year-to-date February 2021. However, imports in February 2022 were 6% lower than in January 2022.
US fabric imports up, made-ups slowing down
US yarn imports during February 2022 at 280.7 MSME were 6.3% higher than in February 2021. US imports of fabrics are showing a strong growth. While in calendar year 2021, fabric imports rose 90.7%; in February 2022, fabric imports at 2968.7 MSME were 143.8% higher than in February 2021.
However, imports were 7% lower than in January 2022. Made-ups imports are showing signs of a slowdown, with imports in February falling by 1.7% to 2215.9 MSME. Made-ups imports during 2020 and 2021 had shown a significant growth. Made-ups imports in February were 11.69% down compared to imports in January this year.
China remains top supplier
Despite the trade tensions, China remains the top supplier of textile and apparel to the US market. Imports from China were up 11.1% during the first two months of 2022, compared to the same period last year. China accounts for 35.5% of share in US imports in this category.
This share is slightly lower than in 2020 at 46.54%, and 41.93% in 2021. India is the second largest supplier of textiles and clothing to the US market, with a growth of 28.3% during January-February 2022, compared to the same period of 2021. India accounts for 9.69% of US imports of textiles and apparel. In 2020, India’s share stood at 9.08%.
Turkey, Czech Republic, Egypt, Malaysia – new suppliers on the block
Some new trends in sourcing are becoming evident. Turkey is emerging an important supplier. Turkey’s exports of textiles and apparel to the US market witnessed a growth of 163.6% in 2021, compared to 2020. During Jan-Feb 2022, US imports from Turkey were up 287.9%. Turkey currently accounts for 5.39% of total US textile and apparel imports. In 2020, Turkey’s share was 1.75%, which went up to 3.35% in 2021.
Another surprisingly new supplier is Czech Republic. US imports from the Czech Republic were up 1022.4% in 2021, compared to 2020. During January-February 2022, imports from this country rose 286.7% , compared to CPLY. The country currently accounts for 4.51% of total US textile and apparel imports. In 2020, its share in the US market was just 0.18%.
US imports from Egypt are also growing strong. In 2021, US imports from Egypt at 2575.2 MSME was 649.3% higher than in 2020. In Jan-Feb 2022, imports from Egypt were up 537.3%, taking the country’s share in total US textile and apparel imports to 3.22%, from a mere 0.51% in 2020.
And imports from Malaysia too are growing in four-digits. During January-February, US textile and apparel imports from Malaysia at 516.7 MSME were up 1840.7%. In 2021, imports from Malaysia had clocked a growth of 355%. Malaysia too has improved its share in the US import basket, to 3.09% from 0.27% in 2020.
Meanwhile, with the USMCA in place, the China-US trade-offs, and the growing need for near shoring, has resulted in more imports coming in from Mexico. While imports in 2021 at 3260.9 MSME were up by 29.2%, in the first two months of 2022, imports from the neighbouring country have grown by 16.2%. However, Mexico’s share in total US imports of textiles and apparel has come down slightly to 2.90%, from 3.73% in 2020.