Consumers are expected to spend less for clothing and footwear in 2015
Global expenditure on clothing and footwear is expected to decline by 1.5% in US dollar terms in 2015 to its lowest level since 2011, according to a report in the latest issue of Global Apparel Markets from the business information company Textiles Intelligence
The decline will be due largely to depreciations of the currencies in a number of major supplying countries against the US dollar. Such depreciations have made exports from these countries cheaper in US dollar terms and this has enabled suppliers in these countries to remain competitive as sourcing locations.
In China, for instance, the value of the renminbi fell against the US dollar by 4% between October 2014 and October 2015 after a sustained appreciation between July 2005 and October 2014.
As a result, buyers who source from China hope to be able to negotiate reduced prices. Chinese producers may also have to reduce their prices in order to remain competitive with their counterparts in Vietnam, given that the latter are set to gain from preferential access to the US market under the impending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
In India, the rupee depreciated by 13% against the US dollar between 2012 and 2014. During the first nine months of 2015, it was down by 4% compared with the corresponding period a year earlier to its weakest level on record.
The depreciation of the rupee has made Indian products cheaper in US dollar terms and therefore more attractive to foreign buyers.
In Turkey, the lira depreciated against the US dollar by 13% in 2014. During the first nine months of 2015, it plunged by 19% compared with the corresponding period a year earlier to its weakest level on record.However, Turkey exports most of its clothing to the EU and most of this trade is mostly based on Euros rather than in US dollars. In 2014, the lira depreciated against the euro at much the same rate as it did against the US dollar. But in the first nine months of 2015 it was down against the EUR by only 1% compared with the corresponding period of the previous year. Consequently, with little movement in the value of the lira against the euro, there was little improvement in Turkey’s competitiveness in European markets during this nine-month period. Most of Turkey’s imports of fabric for clothing production are sourced from Asia, and most of this trade is conducted in US dollars. As a result, the cost of Turkish fabric imports has risen considerably in US dollar terms as the lira has depreciated against the US dollar and this has affected the profitability of Turkish clothing manufacturers.
On a more positive note, the EUR depreciated against the US dollar by a sharp 18% in the first nine months of 2015. Consequently, Turkish exporters believe that this will lead to an improvement in their sales to the EU in 2016 as European buyers look to see if they can make savings by purchasing their goods from Turkey in euros rather than from Asia in US dollars. Exchange rate fluctuations represent one of a number of factors weighed on the global economy in the first half of 2015. Other factors include: a slowdown in demand for imports in China and a number of other emerging markets; and low prices of oil and a number of other commodities, including cotton. Furthermore, growth in goods trade, and in the coming months could be hampered by a sharper than expected slowdown in economic growth in developing economies, the possibility of an interest rate rise in the USA, and unanticipated costs associated with the migration crisis in Europe.
Nevertheless, consumer expenditure on clothing and footwear will grow again in 2016 and accelerate during 2017-19. This should lead to a pick-up in global clothing trade.
Also expected to contribute to a pick-up in trade are low oil and raw material prices witnessed throughout much of 2015, these might tend upwards. By 2016, low raw material prices will have filtered through the supply chain and this could lead to a drop in unit prices.