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Apparel Production Soft in Fourth Quarter

Textiles perform slightly better in the period.

GENEVA — Apparel production in developing countries, led by gains in China, Indonesia and Turkey, increased 3.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the same period the year before, but the sector came in below the 7.5 percent increase in total manufacturing in developing countries due to a decline in consumer demand in recession-hit Europe and slack growth in other industrialized nations, a United Nations report said.

The prospect for growth in manufacturing in developing economies for 2013 “greatly depends on the recovery trends in industrialized countries and policy measures adopted by developing countries,” said the report by the Vienna-based U.N. Industrial Development Organization.

The report shows decreases in apparel production by some major apparel-producing nations such as India, down 0.4 percent; Egypt, off 50 percent, and Brazil, which fell 5.1 percent. This was countered by gains from Turkey, up 10.3 percent, and China and Indonesia, each up about 6.7 percent. Global apparel production fell 0.1 percent, the report said. In the same period, apparel output in industrialized economies declined 7 percent. In the U.S., apparel production in the period fell 4.2 percent, while Italian manufacturing in the sector was off 12.7 percent.

World textile output also posted a mixed performance but overall delivered better results than apparel, with global production increasing 4.2 percent, with developing countries gaining 7.4 percent and industrialized countries falling 2.4 percent.

In the U.S., textile production grew 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter and 1.9 percent for the year, while China output increased 8.9 percent for the quarter and 10.3 percent for the year. India saw a 6.2 percent gain, and Turkey advanced 3.2 percent.

However, textile production declined 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter in Brazil, 15.7 percent in Egypt, 2.5 percent in Indonesia and 1.7 percent in Italy.

Overall, global manufacturing in all sectors expanded 1.2 percent in the quarter compared with the same period in 2011, and represented the lowest quarterly growth rate since the last quarter of 2009.

UNIDO’s data also highlight that industrialized nations are trailing by big margins in manufacturing growth rates compared with robust emerging economies such as China, with the exception of a few economies, such as the U.S.

In the fourth quarter, U.S. manufacturing increased 2.7 percent and expanded 4.3 percent for the year, but in Europe’s major economies it fell by 2.9 percent in Germany, 3.9 percent in France, 1.8 percent in the U.K., 6.9 percent in Italy and 6 percent in Spain. Meanwhile, China’s total manufacturing grew 9.9 percent in the quarter and 10.3 percent for the year.

But the report also observes that, despite the more positive scenario for developing nations, “the impact of the global contraction” on the industrial expansion of emerging nations is evident, and adds that since the beginning of 2012, industrial growth “including in China continuously decelerated.”