GENEVA — Boosted by economic recovery in rich countries, global apparel production increased 7.4 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period last year, with output in developing countries up 9.9 percent and registering a gain of 1.2 percent in industrialized nations, a United Nations report said.
Global textile output also posted positive results, with production increasing 5 percent, as developing nations grew 5.8 percent and industrialized countries rose 2.7 percent.
Overall global manufacturing output posted a 5.1 percent increase during the quarter from a year earlier, with output up 3.3 percent in industrialized countries and 9.4 percent in developing economies. However, excluding China, manufacturing growth in developing countries was just 1.4 percent. China’s manufacturing output increased 13.1 percent.
The report by the Vienna-based U.N. Industrial Development Organization said since the beginning of 2014, “World manufacturing has entered a new phase of steady growth from a prolonged period of recession that caused a sharp decline in production in industrialized countries and a significant slowdown in developing economies.”
The expansion can be attributed mainly to the improving financial condition of industrialized economies, especially in Europe, the report said, noting that manufacturing output increased “in all industrial sectors, including food products, textiles and apparel.”
The agency said the industrial growth in rich countries “is a very positive development” and added that the results are also partly due to the “rebound of domestic demand, especially in European countries, and policy measures to stimulate industrial growth.”
U.N. economists cautioned that the current growth phase, however, “will not necessarily remain unscathed by a downturn in the context of resurfacing geopolitical disturbances, which are likely to affect consumer confidence adversely.”
In the first quarter, apparel production in China, the world’s biggest producer, expanded 12.9 percent, and also notched increases in developing nations such as India, which delivered an 11.4 percent increase, while Indonesia and Brazil posed gains of 5.6 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, and South African production was up 7.4 percent.
But U.N. economists noted that Turkey witnessed a decline of 4.3 percent, Mexico a drop of 0.6 percent, and politically volatile Egypt a contraction of 15.9 percent.
In the same period, apparel production in the U.S. rose 2.2 percent, and positive production results were also reported by Germany, with apparel output up 9.9 percent, while Italy secured an increase of 2.4 percent and Canada had a gain of 11.4 percent. However, France experienced a contraction of 11.5 percent, UNIDO said.
In textiles, production during the period grew 6.9 percent in China, and also increased 5.1 percent in Russia, 4.2 percent in India and 4.1 percent in Turkey, but contracted by 5.8 percent in Indonesia, 3.1 percent in Mexico and 0.2 percent in Brazil.
In industrialized economies, textile production grew 3.8 percent in Italy, 3.5 percent in France, and 2.5 percent in Germany, but declined 1.2 percent in the U.S., UNIDO said.