19 February 2010
The European market for cotton T-shirts gave first signs of a potential recovery in the third quarter last year. Leading Bangladesh gained additional market shares while China began losing ground in value terms, after sharply cutting its prices. Smaller suppliers took advantage of a rise in demand, including India, Sri Lanka or Tunisia.
EU imports of cotton T-Shirts continued seriously falling in the third quarter last year, however less dramatically than in the second quarter.
Imports from countries outside the European Union were down 8.36% in volume terms in the July-September period, from the same quarter in 2008.
They had declined 12.57% in the April-June period, by contrast.
Leading supplier Bangladesh continued getting additional market shares after shipments only fell 5.5% in volume terms.
Imports from India were even stable in volume terms while rising 1.7% from Tunisia and 9.3% from Sri Lanka, as a clear sign the situation improved for all these origins.
More important, shipments from China fell 5.9% in the same third quarter, from a year earlier.
If China continued gaining market shares in volume terms, the drop of the third quarter is reflecting a lower competitivity, more than one year and a half after European quotas were lifted.
Chinese suppliers even lost market shares in value terms after their product prices were sharply cut in the first three quarters of 2009 from the same period in 2008.
Averaged unit price of Chinese cotton T-shirts was down 19% in US$ terms at US$2.43.
By contrast, Bangladeshi suppliers raised their US$ prices by 3.4%. This gave a jump of 15% in euro terms, due to the fall of the European currency in the third quarter last year, from the same period in 2008.
As a result, the average price of Chinese T-shirts is only 31% above Bangladeshi averaged price, compared with 50% for Indian T-shirts and 123% for Turkish products.