Apparel Sourcing Intelligence - Worldwide

Port delays cut US February imports less than predicted. But Asians hit.

US apparel imports in February grew 0.2% on February 2014, in spite of West Coast port delays. Imports from Asia remained depressed – but  far less than widely-quoted indicators were implying.

Measures of US apparel imports are always difficult to interpret in the first two months of the year because the changing dates of Lunar New Year confuse information about Chinese and Vietnamese shipments from December to February. This year, the picture is murkier still because of the West Coast port stoppages: the Journal of Commerce reported on March 31 that container volumes at West Coast ports fell 24% on 2014 during January and February.

US apparel imports Feb 2014

But measured by square metres of fabric, total apparel imports in February were 0.2% up on the previous year, while imports for January and February combined fell just 2.1%. Imports for the twelve months to February (the moving annual total, or MAT, shown in the red line of the graph) were 2.96% up on a year earlier: broadly unchanged from the trend throughout 2014.

Top US suppliers Feb 2015Imports from Asia were worst hit, with China down 3.3% and Indonesia down 11.5%. Imports from the Americas performed particularly strongly, with Mexico and Central america growing 16.5%.

Imports from Bangladesh rebounded strongly in February though (up 16% on 2014) to show the healthiest performance in the US for a year and a half. India’s growth in the two months  was among the highest of any supplier.