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Italian fabrics continues to be the driving force of its textile industry

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-02-05 17:00:00 – Milan

At the opening of the 20th edition of Milano Unica, the Italian Textiles Trade Show, on Wednesday, Italian fabrics have shown to be a driving force promoting general recovery, according to 2014 data on the sector presented at the show.

The textile industry in 2014 started growing again in recession-battered Italy, posting 3.8% production gains with revenues exceeding eight billion euros, according to the Sistema Moda Italia research center.

The result was made possible thanks due to the growing trend in domestic demand, up 4.4 percent which interrupted a multiannual cycle characterized by either significant reductions or stagnation, SMI said. Exports also recorded a 3% growth to 4.4 billion euros in 2014 and are expected to increase 3-4% in the first semester of this year, said the President of Milano Unica, Silvio Albini

This growth trend cut across all segments, except for cotton fabrics, with wool fabrics making for nearly 40 percent of total sales. Manufacturing, net of imported products, posted a 2.9-percent growth.

Exports amounted to 4.4 billion euros, up 3.3 percent, led by knits, followed by wool fabrics (first globally in terms of exports), especially worsteds.

Textile sales to Europe and the US, up 10%, compensated for a significant drop in acquisitions from China, down 9.6% and Hong Kong, down 11.9%, although together they remained the second-largest market for Italy's exports.

Imports exceeded 2 billion euros, posting a 6.5 percent increase. In addition to China and Turkey, which accounted for nearly 50 percent of the total value of fabric imports, an additional rise was also registered in imports from Pakistan.

The trade surplus of Italian fabrics, nearly 2.4 billion euros, made for as much as 25 percent of total trade surplus of the textiles/apparel industry, although the overall sales of fabrics stands at 15.3 percent of textiles/apparel industry sales.

Silvio Albini, President of Milano Unica, cited the sub-movements of the exchange rates as an opportunity for the textile industry, which he said was the first to be impacted by globalization but "knows now how to weigh risks and seize all possible occasions."

In the last years Italy exported over 55 percent of their sales on average, with an artificially strong euro and an excessively high exchange rate that was not in line with European economic conditions.

Today much has changed with the renewed balance, not only in the U.S. market, which is currently one of the most dynamic worldwide, but also in all the other U.S. dollar-indexed areas. Exports will be favored and imports will become less competitive, Albini said.

Junior Economy Minister Carlo Calenda, speaking at the inauguration of the trade fair, said that 2015 will represent a turning point for exports and the internationalization of Italian companies. They are aiming for the United States, where they have huge potential for growth and they will concentrate their resources there.

The government this year has pledged 261 million euros for the 'internationalization' of Italian firms including '40 million for the fashion system, which is eight times more than the average of the past five years.

Milano Unica, which runs on Feb. 4-6 in the Italian fashion capital, showcases the spring/summer 2016 textile collections and accessories of 353 exhibitors, including 64 from other European countries. Milano Unica on March 18-20 will also take place in China's Shanghai.

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