The outlook for the global economy both in 2017 and 2018 is somewhat favourable notwithstanding some continuing uncertainty, in particular related to the trade policy of the United States and the effects of Brexit, especially on exchange rates. Prices are rising, but quite slowly. This is also true for the costs of energy and certain raw materials. The value of the euro has tended to recover, at least until August 2017; EU consumer confidence and especially within the eurozone is at its highest level since April 2001. Unemployment has been steadily falling for more than four years now, both in the EU as a whole and in the eurozone, and the public finances of the majority of Member States have recovered.
The preliminary data for the first quarters of 2017 was also favourable for the textile sector, albeit with decline in the traditional sectors of spinning and weaving, as well as nonwovens, whilst finishing has recovered somewhat. Knitted items (circular knitting) continued to grow, but at a reduced pace. ‘Other textiles’, including technical textiles, expanded more sustainably. The growth observed mainly came from the Eastern European countries.
The clothing sector continued to cut production, yet turnover rose slightly. However, managers’ expectations during the second half of 2017 continued to rise in the clothing industry with positive assessments of production expectations.