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US Imports from China sharply rebound in January

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US apparel and textile imports have commenced the year with a bang in several categories. Increases in January have risen as high as several thousand per cent in some product ranges compared with the same month in 2005. However, there is a fall in categories previously embargoed with shipments significantly lower than 12 months ago.

The first month of Chinese apparel and textile supplies in 2006 have got off to a rapid start with some spectacular rises in several categories, confirm US preliminary data.

However, whilst there have been some three-figure percentage increases in certain categories compared to January 2005, shipments in previously embargoed categories are much lower than one year ago.

Cotton apparel increase
There were rises of 125 per cent in both categories 341 and 342 (women's cotton non-knit blouses and cotton skirts) whilst category 335 (women's cotton coats) also increased 132 per cent.

There was a huge 339 per cent increase in category 334 (other cotton coats) and cotton nightwear were 128 per cent higher.

Larger amounts of MMF apparel
For man-made items (MMF), notable increases in excess of 200 per cent were recorded in categories 642 and 643 (skirts and men's suits) with significant 100 per cent plus rises for categories 636 and 659 (dresses and other apparel).

In addition to MMF, important wool categories were higher and notably category 443 (men's suits) was 507 per cent up from last year.

This category is limited under the US-China textile agreement and observers will be looking to see if this rapid fill rate will continue into next month.

Taking account of seasonal distortions
January imports in several categories are now above the 12-month average whilst others are improving.

But the index, that compares month-on-month imports over the previous year, may vary according to seasonal demand.

This is the case with, for example, category 345 (cotton sweaters) where delivery in time for the winter collection would show a higher increase around August and would tail off afterwards.

Some categories are lower
Also of interest is the re-opening to previously embargoed categories that, again, are subject to limits this year.

There has been a slight trickle of goods passing through US customs and all categories that were subject to limits in 2005 have started the year at lower levels than January 2005.

Shipments received so far account for detained goods now released and the arrival of supplies toward the end of the month allowing for transportation times from China.

These could be set to continue to rise over the next few weeks and will be worth keeping an eye on our weekly US quota fill rate report every Thursday to check for current arrival figures.

Apparel aside, there have also been some astonishing growth in several of the textile categories.

Increases of note as far as bulk is concerned are produce such as category 224 (pile/tufted fabrics) which is over 549 per cent higher compared to January last year.

One is also drawn to the massive 3,432 per cent increase of category 225 (blue denim) as well as the 244 per cent increase in category 363 (cotton pile towels).

There were other large percentage increases in the man-made categories with a massive 3,000 per cent increase for category 625 (poplin).

Again, as with the apparel group, imports in January for several categories were well above the 12 month average.


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