GARMENT  EXPORTS  UP  3%  TO  $2.691  BILLION  IN  '04

MANILA, January 3, 2005 (STAR) By Marianne V. Go - The local garment industry performed better-than-expected in 2004 as exports for the whole of last year reached $2.691 billion.

Based on a report from the Garments and Textile Export Board (GTEB), last year’s shipments rose by nearly three percent from the $2.615 billion earnings recorded in 2003.

According to GTEB Executive Director Serafin Juliano, the increase in export earnings is actually due to price movements rather than an increase in quantity.

The Philippines, Juliano clarified, is still shipping the same amount of dozens, "but there has been price movements."

Juliano cautioned that December garments and textile exports actually posted a decline as the amount of orders for spring styles are a bit lower than the previous year.

Again, Juliano clarified that the decline in orders is not due to a decline in demand, but a lower inventory level by US retailers.

US retailers, Juliano added, are wary of any sudden or unanticipated disruption in the supply chain with the end of the quota system.

The government is projecting a notable 10 percent growth in garment shipments this year.

Exports to the United States, which accounts for 70.40 percent of total garment exports, amounted to $1.894 billion, posting a slight decrease of 1.62 percent compared to the previous year’s exports of $1.926 billion.

Exports to the European Union, which accounted for 15.30 percent of total exports, rose by 23.12 percent to $411.823 million compared to exports amounting to $334.483 million from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2003.

Exports to Canada, which accounted for just 2.77 percent of the total quota export market, posted a 17.24-percent growth amounting to $74.641 million compared to the $63.667 million exported for the whole of 2003.

Exports to non-quota countries increased 6.42 percent amounting to $310.366 million from Jan. 1 to Dec. 28 this year as compared to the exports for the comparable full year of 2003 amounting to $291.652 million.

Apparel exports, which account for 88.06 percent of total exports, went up slightly by 3.48 percent to $2.370 billion while non-apparel exports ( which accounts for 7.27 percent of exports) went up by 3.62 percent to $195.681 million.

Textile exports dropped 7.8 percent to $125.618 million.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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