US Apparel Imports Break $10 Billion Mark in August

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U.S. apparel imports continued to soar in August, reaching a record high for the second straight month and topping $10 billion for the first time ever, according to Commerce Department data released last week.

Total apparel imports rose by 8.7% over August 2014, to $10.1 billion on a CIF basis.

With retail apparel sales growing at between 1 and 2 percent this year, the data are evidence that imports continue to gain share from domestically-produced apparel despite the prevailing folklore that U.S.-made clothing is a growing trend.

The apparel import increase contrasted sharply with total U.S. imports in the month, which fell by 3.1% to $192 billion despite the purchasing power of the stronger U.S. dollar.

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On a 12-month smoothed basis, which corrects for volatility of data in a particular month, apparel import growth was 5.6% in August, its biggest monthly jump in almost four years.

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China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia and India are the top five sources of U.S. imported apparel so far this year.

Apparel exports outperformed the total export market as well, falling by 7.5% compared to last August, to $522 million, while total U.S. exports of goods and services plunged by 10.5%. On a 12-month smoothed basis, apparel exports increased by 2 percent, their smallest monthly increase in almost two years.

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