World apparel production rose 3.7% year-on-year in the second quarter

World apparel production rose 3.7% year-on-year in the second quarter

Global apparel and textile production has continued its year-on-year growth into the second quarter, with developing and emerging economies not surprisingly leading the way.

However, while the latest figures support forecasts for a "modest" rise in total world manufacturing growth in 2013, apparel and textile output in the quarter is lower than it was in the first three months of the year.

In the latest of its regular reports, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) forecasts that global manufacturing output will grow by 2.7% in 2013 as recovery begins in Europe and higher demand is seen across industrialised nations.

However, while this compares to growth of 2.2% in 2012, UNIDO cautions that unemployment and lack of consumer confidence continue to pose a serious challenge to industrial growth in many European countries.

In global terms, world manufacturing rose 2.2% in the second quarter of 2013, up from the 1.3% booked in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. The first quarter's figures were significant as they marked the first rise after nearly three years of a downward trend.

In terms of textiles, production rose 4.8% in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, thanks to a 6.3% rise in developing countries, partly offset by a 1.4% decline in the industrialised nations.

But output was 1.5% lower than in the first quarter of this year, with a decline of 2.1% in developing countries and flat production in industralised ones.

Apparel and fur output rose 3.7% year-on-year, with an 8.9% rise in developing countries partially offset by a decline of 7.4% in the industrialised nations.

Compared with the first quarter, apparel manufacturing was 2.1% lower, made up of declines of 2.1% and 1.9% for developing and industralised countries respectively.

And while production of leather, leather products and footwear climbed 4.6% on a year earlier, it slipped 0.6% when compared to the second quarter.

"Developing and emerging economies performed well in the production of basic consumer goods," UNIDO said, adding that the production of wearing apparel rose in India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey.

Growth path
Looking at world manufacturing production as a whole, UNIDO highlighted that for the first time since the start of the current recession, industrialised regions of East Asia, North America and Europe, together with developing and emerging industrial economies, are simultaneously on a growth path.

Some visible signs of recovery have now been observed in Europe, although the current pace of growth is fragile according to the report. Manufacturing output rose by 1.5% in France, 2.6% in Germany and 0.7% in the United Kingdom.

Signs of growth were also seen in European countries where the recession had been particularly severe. In comparison with the first quarter of 2013, manufacturing output in Greece grew by 12.8%, in Portugal by 2.3% and in Spain by 0.6%. However, Cyprus' manufacturing output fell sharply in the second quarter due to recent financial instability.

"In general, recent figures indicate that the European economy is emerging from recession and industrial production is expected to rise in coming months. At the same time, continued fiscal austerity measures, tight credit conditions and unemployment are still high in many countries making the current recovery in Europe is fragile," the report noted.

Developing and emerging industrial economies maintained relatively higher growth of 7.1% in the second quarter, mainly as a result of growth in China. Manufacturing output in other major emerging economies, such as Brazil, Mexico and Turkey, grew at a slower pace.

Manufacturing growth remained sluggish in India, Asia's other major emerging industrial economy. The recent plunge of the Indian currency to a record low has upset manufacturing industries, which have suffered from a further rise in imported input prices and a consequent increase in the cost of production. By contrast, Indonesia showed a strong growth performance with a rate of 6.6%.

Estimates based on limited data indicated that the industrial growth rate of African countries was relatively low. The manufacturing output of South Africa, the continent's largest manufacturer, rose by 2.2%, while, growth in Morocco was 1.6%, and in Tunisia 2.5%. In Egypt, manufacturing output dropped amid political instability.

The manufacturing output of Latin America grew by 2.1% in the second quarter. According to UNIDO estimates, the manufacturing output of Argentina grew by 3.6%, Brazil by 3.8%, Colombia by 2.0%, and Peru by 1.4%.