US media: The days when Americans buy cheap clothes may never return.

China News Service February 17th According to US media reports on the 17th, the decline in prices for decades has caused US consumers to spend less on an important part of the family budget, which is clothing. But such days may be gone forever.

According to a report released this week by the US government, the consumer price of apparel rose by 0.6% in 2013. Although the increase is small, it is already the third consecutive year that apparel prices have risen. In the 13 years before 2011, clothing prices have only risen in two years.

The main reason for the long-term decline in clothing prices is that China has gradually become the world’s largest exporter, and an era of imported clothing at a low price has also formed. This is a boon for the standard of living of consumers, because everyone can save more money to buy other things.

In 1987, clothing accounted for 5.4% of all personal consumption expenditures in the United States. By 2009, this figure had fallen to 3.1%. In 2012, it rebounded slightly, reaching 3.2%. The 2013 data has not yet come out.

The events of 2010 may mark the end of the era of low-cost clothing imports, in which year the harsh climate led to a decline in production in China, India and the United States, the three largest cotton producers in the world. India directly banned exports and cotton prices began to climb. In the first half of 2011, cotton prices briefly rose to 2.19 US dollars per pound (about 13.25 yuan), which was less than 70 cents at the beginning of 2010.

At the end of 2011, cotton prices returned to below $1, but the previous wave of gains has pushed the inflation rate of American clothing to 4.6% in 2011, the highest record since 1990. , much higher than the overall inflation rate of 3% that year. This is the first time since 1991 that the rise in clothing prices has exceeded the overall inflation rate.

In 2012, the clothing inflation rate fell to 1.8%, slightly higher than the overall inflation rate; in 2013 it was 0.6%, well below the overall inflation rate of 1.5%.

This week’s report shows that last year’s clothing prices fell in December, and this happens every year during the Christmas season. But the 2.3% monthly decline is the smallest of the declines in December in 8 years. & mdash; Perhaps this is a sign that clothing retailers have succeeded in avoiding the sale of goods at a significant discount compared to before. After adjusting for seasonal factors, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that clothing prices in December last year rose 0.9% from November.

In the past 27 years since the end of 1986, American clothing prices have only increased by 17%. Children’s clothing has always been the most vulnerable category of growth, probably because parents are particularly sensitive to the price of the category. The data shows that the price of boys’ clothing has increased by only 1%, while the price of girls’ clothing has dropped by 6%. Men’s clothing prices have risen faster than women’s clothing, but footwear prices have increased by 29% over the same period, higher than all other categories of clothing.

Responsible Editor: Liu Yang

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