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Textile Outlook International
Issue 139:
June 2009

Product Overview
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Reports in this issue
Editorial: Brazil's Textile and Clothing Industry Rides out the Storm--but for How Long? (4 pages)
Prospects for the Textile and Garment Industry in China (40 pages)
Survey of the European Yarn Fairs for Spring/Summer 2010 (13 pages)
International Comparison of Production Costs: Spinning, Texturing, Weaving and Knitting (28 pages)
Textiles and Clothing: Opportunities for Recycling
World Trade in Socks (16 pages)

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World Trade in Socks
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World trade in socks totalled US$5.6 bn in 2007, the latest year for which global data are available. Over half was accounted for by imports into the EU and North America alone. The EU import market was valued at Euro1.1 bn (US$1.6 bn) in 2008—excluding trade between EU member states. Of this total, more than three-quarters was supplied by just two countries: Turkey and China. The remainder came from a large number of supplying countries with relatively low shares. Turkey’s share of the EU market fell in value terms from 50% to 42% in the three years to 2008 whereas China’s share more than doubled to 35%. In quantity terms, however, China has emerged as the leader thanks to its price competitiveness. In cotton socks alone, the average price of imports from China in 2008 was the lowest among the leading ten suppliers except Pakistan. Overall, cotton socks dominated EU imports from all sources with a share of 79%.

US imports of socks were worth about US$1.4 bn in 2008, which was 14% less than the value of imports into the EU. Also, while the EU market is dominated by just two suppliers, there are several countries with significant shares of the US market. China was the top supplier in 2008 with nearly a third of the total. Other major suppliers included South Korea (with a 13% share), followed by Pakistan (11%), Honduras (11%) and Mexico (9%). The fastest growth, however, has been achieved by Honduras. In 2008 US imports from the country rose by 15%—five times the growth in US imports from all sources—after doubling in value in the previous year. As in the EU, cotton socks dominated US imports with a 61% share while synthetic socks accounted for 34%. In cotton socks, the top supplier to the USA was Pakistan, followed by Honduras, China and South Korea. In synthetic socks, however, China dominated with an import share of over half.

China’s success has stemmed partly from the creation of an enormous export industry characterised by huge economies of scale. Also, the government has encouraged the creation of large industrial clusters which specialise in specific products. As a result, the factory town of Datang in Zhejiang province has emerged as the socks capital of the world. Among western hemisphere suppliers, Honduras’s key advantages include low labour costs and duty-free access to the US market under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). These advantages have encouraged the Canadian company Gildan to set up large sock production facilities in Honduras.

Table of Contents
World Trade in Socks
  • Summary
  • Global Imports of Socks
  • EU Imports of Socks
  • The Two Dominant Exporters to the EU: Turkey and China

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Six times a year, Textile Outlook International provides up to 200 pages of expert comment and analysis. A subscription provides an overview of the global fibre, textile and apparel industries. It is essential reading for senior executives in the fibre, textile and apparel industries – and for anyone who is not involved in the industry, but needs to quickly gain an understanding of the key issues.
Reports in Textile Outlook International include:
 country profiles – providing a comprehensive guide to the textile and clothing industries in a range of countries and regions. The reports include an economic and political profile together with a comprehensive overview of the main issues, plus an outlook for the future.
 company profiles – giving you the opportunity to learn from strategies employed by others. Companies profiled recently include retailers, manufacturers, innovators and sourcing companies involved in textiles and apparel as well as smaller companies which illustrate the opportunities for firms which are interested in selected sourcing locations.
 trends in world textile and apparel trade and production – taking into account current issues facing the industry – such as global fibre prices; competition from China and other low cost countries; the elimination of quotas and imposition of selective new ones; relocation of production operations; the impact of economic factors affecting trade; international trade agreements; trade promotion agreements (TPAs); and much more.
 trends in EU and US imports of textiles and clothing – providing comprehensive statistical data and analysis of the top ten supplying countries to the EU and US markets. These reports are updated each year and contain value and volume data as well as average prices and analyses of trends for up to 15 product categories.
 innovations, technological developments, business development opportunities, individual sector analysis and political implications which affect players in the global fibre, textile and apparel industries. Some of the topics which have been covered in recent reports include: new innovations in the textile and clothing industry, such as environmentally friendly textiles, plant based fibres, and developments in textile colorants; innovations in textile machinery; and overviews of the European swimwear, hosiery and lingerie markets.
So whether you are involved in fibres, textiles or clothing – in manufacturing, spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, import/export, retailing – or if you are in education or consultancy or investment or finance, a subscription to Textile Outlook International will tell you what you need to know about the key trends in the industry.
Textile Outlook International is available on subscription – either in printed format only, or in printed and electronic format. If you choose the printed only option, you will receive 6 printed publications a year, containing a total of 30 reports plus editorials written by Robin Anson, our editorial director and in-house industry expert.
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