China’s textile and apparel exports were up 3.2% in the first half of the year, thanks to a sharp increase in demand for anti-epidemic textiles such as masks, new data shows.
Exports reached US$125.19bn in the six months from January to June, figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, and published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), showed.
The figure was boosted by textile exports, which were up 27.8% to $74.10bn year-on-year. Clothing exports, however, were hit by the global Covid-19 pandemic and recorded a decline of 19.4% to $51.08bn.
The data also shows that for the six month period, China’s garment industry registered lower earnings. For major enterprises, operating income dropped 16.4% to CNY577.63bn (US$83.56bn), while total profit was down 27.3% to CNY23.53bn. Operating income margin was 4.07%, down 0.62 percentage points from the same period last year.
From January to June, the retail sales of clothing products from major units was also down, falling 21.8% to CNY360.9bn. Online clothing retail sales, meanwhile, were down 2.9% year-on-year.
Figures from the Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) published earlier this month showed China booked the largest decline in apparel shipments to the US during the first half of the year despite its unit price falling 17% year-on-year to $1.88 – making the sourcing powerhouse the cheapest of the top-ten clothing suppliers by far.