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CNP: Reinvigorating Romania’s clothing industry takes investment in design and branding

Romania's clothing industry will record a 9-percent decline in 2008 that will add up to a further annual decline of 21.5 percent in 2007, reveals the findings of a recent study conducted by the Romanian National Economic Projection Commission (CNP).
The improvements in the negative trend of 2007 would be visible in the results of Q1 2008, when output diminished only 1.1 percent year-on-year, compared with an 18-percent decline in Q1 2007 from Q1 2006, the study indicates.
In order to reinvigorate this sector, huge investment is required not only in technology, but also in design and branding, both of which are essential elements of the clothing industry, says CNP. Strong concerted action to promote the own brands of the Romanian clothing industry, little known abroad, would help the process and boost the sector.
CNP is also estimating a less significant drop in the light industry output in 2008 from 2007, which should be of 2.2 percent, compared with 8.6 percent.
Industrial output is expected to increase 55.2 percent overall in 2008, compared with 5.4 percent in 2007.
Romania's output of textiles, leather products and footwear is expected to advance 0.5 percent in 2008 on increasing domestic demand generated by rising personal incomes.

Romania's light industry exports recorded a 5.3-percent annual decrease in 2007, but they are predicted to increase by 0.6 percent in 2008 in annual terms. The rising trend is expected to be supported mainly by a 4.3-percent rise in textiles exports on a 3-percent increase in textiles output.
Likewise, Romanian exports of leather products and footwear would increase to 1.560 billion euro, up 4.1 percent from the year before, on a resumption of positive developments in the industrial output. On the other hand, clothing exports are predicted to continue on a falling trend in 2008, but at a slower pace, of 2.6 percent, compared with the previous annual decline of 9.5 percent.
As far as light industry imports are concerned, CNP estimates a slowdown by 2.4 percent in their rise, down from 7.3 percent in 2007. Textiles imports, making up 60 percent of the total light industry imports, should increase the least, by 1.2 percent, while imports of clothing items, leather products and footwear should advance 3.1 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
Romania's 2008 trade balance in light industry products is expected to record a surplus of 640 million euros. The textiles trade deficit should decrease slightly by 0.6 percent, while the growth of the clothing trade surplus should slow down from 16.6 percent in 2007 to 4.3 percent in 2008. As far as the surplus of trade in leather products and footwear is concerned, a recovery is expected to the tune of 300 million euros.
The average staff employed in the light industry should continue on a downward trend in 2008, particularly in the clothing industry, where the number of the employed should be cut by 5,000, mainly because of a slowdown in related activities. In the textiles sector, the trend would tend toward stabilisation, while employment in the leather and footwear industries should continue on the same trend of slight increase of the past years.
Gross average pay in the light industry should follow a rising trend and go up 14.4 percent in the textiles sector, 13.8 percent in the clothing industry and 15 percent in the footwear industry, all compared with 2007.

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