Most fiber prices decreased in August, despite rising oil prices.
According to the latest monthly fiber report from PCI, raw material prices for both polyester and polypropylene were down or flat because of China’s excess polyester capacity. Meanwhile, cotton prices peaked and fell back, due to the increased availability of new crops.
“The higher export level is partly the result of slower than anticipated growth in Chinese domestic demand, making exports an obvious place to enable sustained production levels,” the report said. “Recent clothing and footwear expenditure data shows weaker growth in demand, which would have not been expected when the capacity increases were planned.”
For other fiber markets, including viscose, this could pose a potential threat, as demand continues to rise and supply remains short.
Here’s a look at what happened with fibers in August.
PTA raw material prices were down or flat for the month of August.
According to PCI, China’s PTA price is at $636 to $660 per metric ton, America’s PTA price is at $826 per metric ton and Europe’s PTA price is at $717 to $772 per metric ton.
China’s polyester filament prices were also down in August, due to the nation’s excessive exports of this fiber. PCI said that anticipated G20 Summit outages likely caused this spike in production, in addition to less consumer demand for polyester filament-based goods.
For China, PCI said, “Price changes are at best reflecting raw material cost changes and the high level of uncertainty as long-term demand leads producers to sell now rather than hold out for better prices.”
Production issues and weakened buying sentiment in Asia caused polypropylene prices to drop to $1,040 to $1,140 per metric ton.
Europe’s fiber grade polypropylene prices also decreased to $963 to $1,061 per metric ton, while propylene demand remained prevalent.
According to PCI, global cotton prices shot up and then decreased in August, due to the emergence of more crops. Cotton outlook internationally remained positive, with American cotton production up 2.8 million metric tons from last year.
PCI said, “Current lower spot prices are now providing some opportunity for spinners to purchase much needed cotton if they can find the required qualities on offer, but the trade in general remains cautious about price volatility between now and late Q4 2016.”
Higher demand and scarce supply has spiked an increase in viscose raw material prices globally.
Softwood viscose staple fiber (VSF) grade dissolving woodpulp (DWP), in particular, has increased to $950 per metric ton at the beginning of August and peaked to $970 per metric ton at the end of the month.
Chinese DWP producers have bumped viscose prices above $1,000 per metric ton, to pay for their full production costs. Due to past anti-dumping duties on VSF grade DWP imports from Brazil, Canada and the U.S. and ample supply from other nations, China was previously unable to lift market prices.