U.S. apparel imports grew 3% in November, outpacing total goods and services imports, which suffered a 3% decline, according to the most current U.S. Department of Commerce data.
Total apparel imports (on a CIF basis) were $6.9 billion for the month, an expected drop from October’s $8.7 billion. The decline in imports of total goods and services was due largely to decreases in imports of industrial supplies and materials, which fell sharply, and that failed to be offset by increases in imports of automotive vehicles and parts.
On a 12-month smoothed basis, which corrects for volatility of data in a particular month, apparel imports gained 4.1%, their second straight month above 4%.
Apparel exports rose by over 10% to $523 million in October, compared to an almost 20% plunge in total goods and services exports. Canada, Mexico, Japan, the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates are key export customers for U.S.-made apparel, with year-to-date exports to the UK and UAE up 14% and 17%, respectively, and those to Japan down 6%.