Geo-political tension has impacted China’s import of fibre (predominantly cotton) from Australia, but Chinese exports of apparel to Australia have remained strong in recent years despite diplomatic issues. Trade data analysis reveals a 41 per cent reduction in fibre imports from Australia over the last four years, whereas apparel exports from China increased by 44 percent in 2022 compared to 2018.
In 2018, China imported $3.177 bn worth of fibre from Australia, but this figure fell by 41 per cent to $1.860 bn in 2022, according to market report. There was a steep fall in imports during the pandemic, with figures dropping from $2.592 bn in 2019 to $1.441 bn in 2020. However, a slight recovery occurred in 2021 with imports valued at $1.971 bn, before declining again to $1.860 bn in 2022. In the first quarter of 2023, China imported fibre worth $374.693 mn.
In terms of volume, China’s fibre import was 591.499 kg during 2018 which came down to 539.079 mn in 2019. During Covid year 2020, the import halved to just 250.601 mn kg. It further eased to 216.051 mn kg and 199.652 mn kg in 2021 and 2022 respectively. The import stood at 50.583 mn kg in January-March 2023.
Market report shows a significant increase in Chinese apparel exports to Australia following the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Exports stood at $3.837 bn in 2018 and rose to $5.530 bn in 2022.
Despite a downturn in 2019 and 2020, with export values recorded at $3.700 bn and $3.636 bn respectively, a recovery was observed in 2021 with exports bouncing back to $4.784 billion and then rising to $5.530 bn in 2022. The outbound shipment value was recorded at $1.526 bn in the first quarter of the current year.