U.S. apparel imports grew faster than imports of all goods and services in October, according to the most current U.S. Department of Commerce data, continuing a trend that began more than a year ago.
Total apparel imports (on a CIF basis) were $8.7 billion for the month, a 5% rise over October of last year and an increase from September’s $8.5 billion. Total goods and services imports were up by 3.7%, due largely to increases in imports of consumer goods, automotive vehicles and parts and capital goods.
On a 12-month smoothed basis, which corrects for volatility of data in a particular month, apparel imports gained 4.3%, their seventh straight month of accelerating growth.
Apparel exports rose 12.2% to $553 million in October, double the growth rate of total goods and services exports, and the highest monthly total for apparel exports since May of 2002. 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 13% and 17%, respectively.