Official 2004 export figures for Spain’s footwear industry released by FICE, Spain’s Footwear Manufacturers Federation, show declines of 14.5 percent in volume and 8.6 percent in value for the year. Instead imports jumped by 44 percent in volume and by 14 percent in value, raising the country’s trade deficit in pairage and reducing its trade surplus in terms of euros.

Total shoe exports fell to 108.5 million pairs valued at €1.8 billion last year, but the average price went up by 6.8 percent to €16. Spain’s top three destinations based on value were France with 25 million pairs valued at €382 million, the UK with 14.8 million pairs worth €251 million, and Germany with 17.6 million pairs valued at €201 million.

Sales to France rose by 23 percent in volume but dropped by 5.3 percent in value, coming down to an average price of €15.3 per pair, and Portuguese manufacturers claim that they performed better there, without indicating the figure. The average price of Spanish footwear in Germany rose by 17 percent to a still low €11.4 as shipments to that tough market fell by 33 percent in volume and by 22 percent in value. In the UK, where the average price was €17, Spanish shoe manufacturers scored 21.3 percent worse in volume and 10.24 percent worse in value.

With an average export price risen slightly to €25.5, the USA came in 4th place on Spain’s export list, followed by Portugal and Italy. Exports to the USA declined by 24 percent in volume to a scant 7 million pairs and by 15.5 percent in value to €179 million, largely due to the dollar. Spanish exports to the USA have slipped by a dramatic 11 million pairs or 61 percent over the 5-year period from 2000 to 2004. The value of those exports was off by 48 percent over the same time frame.

Russia is in 21st place. Spanish exports to Russia plunged by 38 percent in volume and by 27 percent in value last year to hit 347,000 pairs worth €8.5 million. On the other hand, the average price climbed a notable 17.6 percent to €24.5.

Total imports into Spain grew to 189.5 million pairs valued at €1.146 million, according to FICE’s figures. The breakdown based on volume shows China way ahead of the pack with 97.3 million pairs valued at €276 million, followed by Vietnam with 16.4 million pairs valued at €179 million. Malaysia moved into third place with 11.8 million pairs - up a whopping 456 percent - valued at €20.4 million.

They were followed by Italy, Indonesia, Portugal and Brazil. Imports from Brazil made a big jump of 149 percent to 5.5 million pairs in Spain, but the average import price declined by 23.34 percent to €5.7. Imports from Italy and Portugal rose by 15 and 20 percent in volume, respectively, reaching 7.2 and 5.8 million pairs. Average import prices rose marginally from Italy to €17 and dropped marginally from Portugal to almost €12.

By contrast, imports from China shot up by 57 percent in volume and the average price fell dramatically to only €2.8 from the 2003 level of €3.7. Import prices from Vietnam declined to a more reasonable level of €11 per pair as imports from that country rose by 27 percent in volume and by almost 20 percent in value.