The industry includes textiles and wearing apparel as well as leather (much of which goes into the auto industry) and footwear. It contributed 2,7% of total manufacturing production in the third quarter of 2015, virtually the same as in the third quarter of 2013 but down from 3,1% in the third quarter of 2010. Within the industry, textiles and textile products accounted for over 40% of production; wearing apparel for 30%; knitted articles for 5%; leather for 14%; and footwear for 10%.
Production was almost unchanged in volume terms the third quarter of 2010. From the second to the third quarter of 2015, however, output rose by 0,7%. The product groups within the industry showed considerable divergence, however, with a 50% decline in knitted goods from 2010 and, in the past two years, stagnation in textiles, leather and footwear. In contrast, clothing has seen fairly steady growth, although very slow, rising only 1% in the two years to the third quarter of 2015. This may result in part from a dedicated dti support programme.
The industry showed a long-term fall in employment from 2010, despite significant quarterly variations. Employment was 232 000 in the third quarter of 2015, down from 252 000 five years earlier. It reportedly climbed from 213 000 in the second quarter of 2015.
Capacity utilisation remained essentially unchanged from the second quarter of 2015 at 76,0%. It had been 77,3% two years earlier, in the third quarter of 2013.
Exports of clothing and footwear came to 4% of total manufactured exports in the third quarter of 2015, up from 3% two years earlier. But they accounted for around 44% of total production of textiles, clothing, leather and footwear in the third quarter of 2015, compared to 33% two years earlier. The growth in export orientation apparently reflected a combination of stagnant domestic demand, a more competitive currency, and the dti’s incentive scheme for clothing, which encouraged production for export.
In dollar terms, exports by the industry came to US$416 million in the third quarter of 2015, up from US$339 million two years earlier. Compared to the second quarter of 2015, they had dropped from US$455 million. In rand terms, they climbed more rapidly, rising from R3,4 billion in the third quarter of 2013 to R5,5 billion in the second quarter of 2015, but declined to R5,4 billion in the third quarter. That said, the quarterly trade data are not seasonally adjusted, so the changes are not necessarily very meaningful.
Imports of clothing, footwear, leather and textiles came to 7% of all manufactured imports in the third quarter of 2015, compared to 6% in the third quarter of 2013. They exceeded local production by around 25%. In rand terms, they rose from R12,8 billion in 2013 to R16,4 billion in the third quarter of 2015. The increase probably reflected depreciation more than an increase in the volume of imports.