Coronavirus, which was declared as global health emergency by WHO (World Health Organisation) on 31 January, has impacted the global textile and apparel trade in a big way. So far,the deadly virus has killed 563 people in China, with 28,018 confirmed cases of deadly virus. Around 25 countries of Asia-Pacific region as well as Europe, North America, the Middle East etc. have also confirmed few cases of the same. Hong Kong has also reported its first Coronavirus death. Notably, various airlines across the globe have cancelled their flights to China.
Global brands, retailers impacted!
Major brands and retailers including Nike, H&M and Adidas,among others, have been compelled to close some of their stores in the country to help curb the spread of this virus.Nike has announced that it would shut roughly half of its stores in China and operate with reduced hours at the locations that remain open. H&M has also confirmed that 45 store closures in China have affected its January sales.
Besides, Adidas has shut down a ‘considerable’ number of outlets in China. Capri Holdings Ltd. – parent to Michael Kors, Versace and Jimmy Choo – revised downward its revenue and earnings per share forecasts due to headwinds induced by the Coronavirus. Alibaba, Versace, Kering Louis Vuitton have pledged or made donation to fight the outbreak.
Several fairs postponed
Globally, some of the trade shows have been postponed while those that are happening, are impacted badly. Some of the events denied entry to industry representatives from China. Messe Frankfurt has announced that all its 3 textile fairs to be held in Shanghai in March have been postponed to a later date. The announcement comes in the wake of company’s recent decision to postpone its other 2 fairs in China, namely Prolight + Sound Guangzhou, SPS – Industrial Automation Fair Guangzhou (SIAF) and Asiamold (Guangzhou) and Toy & Edu, Baby & Stroller and Licensing China (Shenzhen).
American Events announced that it would suspend the NE Materials Show, scheduled for 5 and 6 February in Boston, as well as the NW Materials Show, scheduled for 12 and 13 February in Portland, OR.
Organisers from Hong Kong-based Asia Pacific Leather Fair added that they were considering postponing their event, set for the end of March. Add to it, one of the major technology shows in Bangladesh, namely Dhaka International & Garment Machinery (DTG), has also been postponed.
The Première Vision Sports Show, Portland will be held as planned on 12 and 13 February.The organising team said that it regrets being unable to host attendees and partners coming from China: “Due to the recent decision of the US Department of Health, we feel very sorry we cannot welcome our Chinese friends for this edition.”
Footwear Sourcing at Magic show in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center started with few people wearing protective masks and exhibitors noting that the event was noticeably smaller than past editions.
Production impacted in China and Vietnam
After the extended 24-30 January Lunar New Year holidays, many provinces announced extended business closures until 9 February. Enterprises in Hubei – the epicentre of the virus – remain closed until 13 February.Many companies have specifically informed their stakeholders about the delay in deliveries, while some are planning to shift their orders too.
Alvanon, New York-based global fashion innovations company reinventing the way fashion works and shaping the future of fit, has said, “This will, unfortunately, have an impact on our physical AlvaForm production and delivery. We anticipate a 4-week delay on any physical goods that have already been paid. We are doing all that we can to minimise the delay and will make sure to keep you informed as our factory is reopened. Please do consider looking at our digital avatars on the Alvanon Body Platform (ABP) as a way to work virtually,” said Janice Wang, CEO of the company.
The Chinese economy and the country’s polyester and textile industries could be under pressure due to this virus. Concerns among market players in the polyester chain are widespread. Central China, where Hubei is at the core, is in a virtual standstill. All transport links have been cut amid the lockdown. Passing through the Yangtze river – stretching from one end of China to the other – has become impossible. Land transport is limited. If the virus spreads further, more cities and/or provinces in China could see a similar lockdown. That would be a logistical catastrophe and disruption to the polyester and textile industries would be disastrous.
Hubei, and much of central China, is an important manufacturing base for the textile industry – with many textile, print and dyeing businesses clustered there. A prolonged transport paralysis will mean no fibres or fabrics produced in the major production bases in coastal provinces of China will be sent inland – whether by road, rail or along the Yangtze. Similarly, the delivery of apparels and other finished textile products to other parts of China, as well as exports too will suffer.
Hong Kong-based apparel maker Regina Miracle International, which operates at Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park in Haiphong, has 301 Chinese workers. Around 100 employees who have returned from Hubei are being isolated and await a further decision from Haiphong authorities, according to local media. As per the company, none of its Chinese workers who returned to Haiphong after the Chinese New Year were back from Hubei, as the province has been effectively locked down since 23 January.
Train services between Vietnam and China have been suspended until further notice, and several border gates between Vietnam and China in the northern province of Lang Son have suspended imports and exports until 9 February.
Health advisory in India
Kerala declares Coronavirus a state calamity. The Delhi Government on Wednesday issued a health advisory on the novel Coronavirus (nCov) and prescribed dos and don’ts for the public to ward off any infection, including avoiding frozen meat, officials said. A round-the-clock control room has also been set up at the DG of Health Services’ headquarters to address queries related to the virus.
“As far as the direct impact of fabric and trims import is concerned, so far nothing is there at ground level because Chinese companies were on leave for the New Year and the majority of apparel exporters have plans accordingly. With regard to orders shifting from China to India, I feel that if the crisis continues, only then it can happen. No doubt, buyers are scared and don’t want to visit China, so in future India can have some share of China’s order,” Raja Shanmugam, President, Tirupur Exporters Association
“No country will buy goods from China for many more days in this situation. The orders destined for China may come to Bangladesh in that case,” Ahsan H. Mansur, ED, The Policy Research Institute, Bangladesh
“Some immediate orders from China will be shifted. And major contenders are Vietnam, Cambodia and maybe Bangladesh if fortune favours us. But this is temporary,” Dr.Rubana Huq, President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association
Order delay and panic in India
As India is majorly dependent on China for machines, fabric and trims, it is really a concern for the industry. The companies having manufacturing in China and supplying to India are badly impacted but they don’t want to be quoted. Many Indian fabric and trim importers shared that the uncertainty, when China will resume work full fledge, is creating trouble for business as garment manufacturers are asking for confirming delivery which is not possible at this time. Some of the garment manufacturers are using Indian raw materials or whatever best is possible in India, but there are some specific products like metal buttons that are not the strength of India and in such cases, manufacturers and suppliers are more worried.
Importing some trims from China, Gautam Jain, Director, Krish Fashion Accessories, Delhi informed, “This uncertainty will definitely have a negative impact on business, deliveries will be late as no one can say when will we have supply like before.”
Sanjay Mehta, Sunny Sales, Kolkata is of the view that due to availability of enough stock there is no major problem. There are 10 to 15 per cent running items (fast-moving product) which are normally not kept much in stock; import of such items is definitely a concern and so there is panic.” Sunny Sales is one of the well-known Indian dealers of sewing machines and parts.
Indian Government has issued a notification mentioning the prohibition of the export of all types of personal protection equipment, including masks and clothing, with immediate effect in view of the rising threat from the Coronavirus. A notification from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry reads, “Export of all varieties of personal protection equipment including clothing and masks used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and/or any other respiratory masks or any other personal protective clothing [including coveralls (class 2/3/4) and N95 masks] is prohibited with immediate effect till further orders.”