Footwear seesaw: exports decrease and imports increase

Data examined by the Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados) indicate that the moments of footwear imports and exports are different. According to the survey, 8.1 million pairs were shipped in September, 19% less than in September last year. Conversely, imports during the ninth month of the year reached 2.9 million pairs, 10.5% more than in the same month of 2019.  With these results, exports between January and September totaled 64.5 million pairs for USD 490 million, decreases of 24.4% in volume and 33.2% in revenues compared to the corresponding period last year, while imports during the period reached 19.15 million pairs, for which USD 237.75 million were paid, decreases of 13.8% and 17.7%, respectively, in relation to the same period last year.

Abicalçados' executive president, Haroldo Ferreira, highlights that net exports for footwear have already decreased by 32% between January and September, in dollars.  "Imports may be gradually occupying the space of Brazilian shoes on the shelves," he warns.  Specifically regarding the decrease in exports, Ferreira estimates that even though its impacts are less prominent now, the new coronavirus pandemic has still been affecting shipments, especially to the United States. Another factor that continues to negatively influence performance is the crisis in Argentina, which has been restricting footwear imports through non-automatic licenses as a way to retain its meager foreign exchange reserves.  “It is a recurring problem and it gets worse as the crisis in the neighboring country deepens,” says the leader, stressing that Argentina is the second destination for Brazilian shoes abroad.  Companies have already reported to Abicalçados that over 350 thousand pairs of Brazilian shoes have been retained for more than two months due to the delay in the release of import licenses.

Between January and September, the main destination of Brazilian shoes abroad, the United States, imported 6.6 million pairs of shoes for USD 154.1 million, decreases of 27.3% and 30%, respectively, compared to the same period of 2019. The second destination of Brazilian products was Argentina, where 5.13 million pairs were shipped to, generating USD 51.35 million, decreases of 30% and 34.8%. The only destination among the main importers of Brazilian shoes with positive results in revenues, France, ranked third. Throughout the period, the French imported 5.17 million pairs for USD 43.3 million, a decrease of 8% in volume and an increase of 0.5% in revenues compared to the same period last year.

Among the main exporters of shoes from Brazil, the state of Rio Grande do Sul stood out with the shipment of 15.7 million pairs and USD 222.3 million between January and September this year. The result is lower than last year both in volume (-32.4%) and in revenues (-35%). The second-largest exporter during the period was the state of Ceará, where 21.2 million pairs were shipped from for USD 120.6 million, decreases of 26.5% in volume and 31.5% in revenues in relation to 2019. The third exporter during the period was São Paulo, with 4.6 million pairs shipped for USD 49.46 million, decreases of 21.3% and 36.7% compared to last year.

Between January and September, 19.15 million pairs came into Brazil, for which USD 237.75 million were paid, decreases of 13.8% in volume and 17.7% in revenues in relation to the same period last year. The main origins are still the Asian countries Vietnam (2.17 million pairs and USD 138.14 million, decreases of 76.6% and 4% compared to 2019); Indonesia (817.58 thousand pairs and USD 37.77 million, decreases of 78.2% and 36.4%); and China (2.95 million pairs and USD 28.4 million, decreases of 56.2% and 23.2%).

In footwear parts – uppers, soles, heels, insoles, etc.  – imports between January and September totaled USD 15.3 million, a decrease of 33% compared to the same period last year. The main origins were China, Paraguay, and Vietnam.