Textile activity expanded further in the 4th quarter 2021, although at a slower pace than in previous quarters. Performances in the clothing industry improved significantly during this period. Furthermore, EU exports and retail sales grew at a sustained pace, following strong domestic and external demand.
Looking at the full year of 2021, the textile activity has fully recovered from the strong contraction in 2020, while clothing companies have almost reached their pre-pandemic level. However, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, global supply chains and shipments slowed down, causing worldwide shortages and affecting consumer patterns. Persistent price surges of raw materials and energy weighed increasingly heavy on the T&C industry.
The EU Business Confidence indicator for the months ahead fell slightly in textiles (-1.7 points), probably reflecting their energy-related challenges, while the clothing industry is more optimistic (+2.1 points). To note however that managers’ confidence in both textiles and clothing remain higher than its long-term average and to pre-Covid level in Q4 2019. Besides, consumer confidence dropped, following the collapse in households’ expectations about the general economic situation and their assessments of their own future financial situation, which fell to historical low. Similarly, the retail trade confidence dropped, mainly as a result of retailers’ assessment of their expected business situation. After a brief interruption end of 2021/beginning of 2022, selling price expectations for the next three months rose to unprecedented levels in the T&C sectors, due to the sharp increase in energy costs and raw materials.