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Bangladesh, Mexico Drive 30% Surge in US Jeans Imports

U.S. jeans imports jumped 29.18 percent year over year in the five months through May to a value of $1.15 billion, surpassing the four-month increase of just 9.42 percent through April as retailers and brands restock to quench pent-up consumer thirst, the latest report from the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA) showed.

The result was a 30 percent, or $26.39 million, cumulative year-to-date increase from April to May. While comparisons to the year-ago period are skewed due to 2020’s coronavirus-induced factory shutdowns and store closures, the first couple of months of this year also saw reduced retail spending until vaccines got rolling.

Blue denim apparel imports, the vast majority of which are jeans, from top supplier Bangladesh rose 35.61 percent in the year through May from the same period in 2020 to $218.35 million, besting April’s 10.2 percent year-to-date gain, according to OTEXA. No. 2 producer for the U.S. market Mexico continued to surge ahead with a 51.35 percent year-to-date increase to $232.76 million after a 25.07 percent hike the previous month.

Among the Top 10 suppliers from Asia, imports from Vietnam rose 8.69 percent in the five months to $121.58 million, following a 2.86 percent drop the prior month, as sourcing experts have said capacity issues have started to challenge the country’s rapid rise. To that end, denim manufacturer Saitex is taking its production capabilities to the next level with the opening of its own mill. Located in the Nhon Trach Industrial Zone in Dong Nai, Vietnam, the 100,000-square-meter complex will officially open its doors to clients in August. The new operation will complement Saitex’s denim factory, which produces an average of 18,000 pairs of jeans per day.

Jeans imports China were up 38.67 percent in the period to $117.27 million, while shipments from Pakistan increased 38.73 percent to $116.62 million, imports from Cambodia rose 10.33 percent to $59.92 million and shipments from Sri Lanka gained 32.79 percent to $23.48 million.

Led by Mexico, jeans imports from the Western Hemisphere increased 44.89 percent year to date to $292.87 million. Also contributing to the gain were shipments from Nicaragua, up 40.65 percent to $42.31 million.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Egypt, with imports up 1.71 percent in the five months to $42.27 million, and Turkey, jumping 86.88 percent to $23.82 million.