Among the key takeaways from new data on US apparel imports in November are a drop in shipments from Bangladesh, and Vietnam achieving the biggest gains of the year to date.

The figures on Bangladesh are significant since they mark the first fall in shipments from the country since factory safety issues came to the fore in April.

Imports fell 2.2% to 117m SME during November, and may mark the start of a decline in orders as the impact of long leadtimes filters through.

As well as factory safety issues, buyer confidence may well have been shaken by widespread strikes and disruption across the country as a pay rise for apparel workers was negotiated.

That said, it is also worth noting that a slowdown in import volume from Bangladesh in September was followed by a massive 42.5% hike in shipments the following month.

And for the year to date, US apparel imports from Bangladesh are up 11.9% to 1.59bn SME, with a rise of 11.2% in value to US$4.65bn.

The 11 months from January to November also mark a rise of 13.6% in shipments from Vietnam, to 2.24bn SME - the biggest overall gain booked by any country during the year so far. The hike is an even more impressive 14% in value terms to US$7.5bn.

Vietnam is the second-biggest apparel supplier to the US after China, while Bangladesh sits in third place.

Click here for more insight into US apparel imports in November.