Tidbits: A Small Slice of the World

By Stormy

China’s Hats & Caps Exports in the First Half of 2008 Seem to Buck the Trend, Posting 20.9 Percent Sales Growth to a Value Exceeding $844 Million

China’s 1,800 hat and cap suppliers export more than US$1.5 billion worth of products annually. Makers produce a wide range of designs including sports and fashion caps, as well as winter headwear.

Poorest countries must improve trade capacity: WTO

The world’s poorest countries need to get more competitive at producing and exporting goods in order to take advantage of preferential access offered by rich countries, an internal WTO report says.

The Financial Crisis in China and Japan

As the global financial crisis expands in the United States and Europe, the Asian financial system remains full of cash and not as vulnerable to the credit crunch proper [Subscription only]

Global apparel markets: winners and losers

US apparel production has decreased every year since 1997, and in the first half of 2008 was at its lowest level since 1963. However, the average price per unit increased 25%, as the product mix shifted to higher priced articles.

China, meanwhile, saw its apparel exports rise by 15% in volume and almost 20% in value in 2007, despite quota restrictions levied on several apparel types. China was responsible for 34.3% of total EU apparel imports, and 83.9% of clothing sold in Japan sported Made in China labels.

Mexico sales fell over 7% in 2007 as US and EU importers shifted orders to low cost and high quality outsourcing countries in Asia such as Vietnam and China.

U.S. Motorists Drove 15 Billion Fewer Miles in August

U.S. motorists drove 15 billion miles less in August than they did a year earlier, down 5.6 percent for the biggest monthly decline ever, as high gasoline prices and a weak economy cut into highway travel, the Transportation Department said on Friday.

China queries banks on loans to foreign-owned firms

China’s banking regulator has ordered lenders to report on the volume and status of their loans outstanding to foreign-owned firms, due to concerns about possible defaults…

Worries had already been mounting over asset quality at Chinese banks as an increasing number of manufacturers reported losses or went bankrupt due to weaker exports and sluggish consumer demand, as the global economy falters.

Many manufacturers in China are owned by foreign investors or controlled by off-shore vehicles.

Chinese media have also recently reported rising defaults by South Korean-owned companies as they pulled out of labour-intensive operations in eastern China’s Shandong province.

In its notice to lenders, the banking regulator urged them to learn from previous cases in which foreign investors transferred profits and assets out of China and dodged loan repayments.