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US Denim Imports Slowed Their Roll in August

U.S. jeans imports slowed their pace again in August as companies backed off their intake that saw first half gains reach 42.63 percent.

Shipments of blue denim apparel processed at U.S. ports of entry increased 31.29 percent year to date in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period in 2021 to a value of $2.85 billion, according to the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA). This was down from the 34.88 percent year-over-year rise in July.

It followed Levi Strauss & Co. last week cutting its annual sales and earnings forecast “as a result of the significant incremental currency headwinds from the stronger U.S. dollar, as well as a more cautious outlook for North America and Europe due to macroeconomic conditions and ongoing supply chain disruptions.”

Levi’s now predicts that sales will grow 6.7 percent to 7 percent to $6.15 billion to $6.17 billion instead of $6.4 billion to $6.5 billion.   

“We have taken swift and decisive action to successfully navigate the dynamic operating environment,” chief financial officer Harmit Singh said. “We are controlling discretionary spending, while maintaining our commitment to invest strategically to capitalize on our long-term growth opportunities.”

OTEXA’s August report showed top supplier Bangladesh maintained its surge, as imports from the country were on par with the previous-month’s growth, rising 46.37 percent in the period to $638.94 million. Imports from No. 2 supplier Mexico increased 20.56 percent to $498.25 million, down slightly from the 21.9 percent gain in the seven-month cycle.

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Among the Top 10 Asian producers, imports from disaster-stricken Pakistan backed off to a 41.48 percent increase from a 52.38 percent year to date gain through July to $329.05 million, while shipments from Vietnam grew a year-over-year 28.69 percent—compared to a 33.99 percent rise in the prior month—to $306.8 million.

Shipments from China contained to lag, up 13.93 percent to $264.95 million after a 17.27 percent increase through July, while imports from Cambodia rose 38.96 percent to $140.61 million following a 44.91 percent jump in July, and India’s shipments skyrocketed 98.07 percent to $52.32 million after increasing 102.31 percent the prior month.

Rounding out the Top 10, jeans imports from Egypt increased 79.9 percent to $157.42 million, after a 94.03 percent hike in July, as Nicaragua’s shipments rose 28.27 percent to $98.06 million and Turkey’s were up 25.51 percent to $53.92 million.