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Global Synthetic Fiber Prices Drop in August

The global synthetic fiber price index fell by 3.9% in August, according to the newest data from consulting firm PCI Fibres. The index, measuring the average price for acrylic, nylon, polyester and polypropylene filament yarns and staple, registered its second biggest decline in five months, reflecting a considerable deterioration from July’s 0.9% overall price decrease.

Preference for man-made fibers over cotton has been more than offset by slowing demand for apparel and other textile products, particularly in key Chinese and North American markets. In addition, overcapacity of polyester and nylon fiber and raw materials in Asia, and the resulting ingredients cost declines, could exert downward pressure on prices for the foreseeable future.

In Asia, the world’s largest fiber-producing region, synthetic fiber prices fell by a whopping 6 percent in the month, more than twice July’s 2.5% drop. A drop in operating rates at fiber suppliers in China has failed to increase prices, however, and lower prices for polyester ingredients TPA and MEG could continue the current downward trend. Polyester continues to be pressured by falling cotton prices and a lack of strength in mill demand. Filament prices are expected to be buoyed by a seasonal demand uptick in the coming weeks, however.

Asian nylon (polyamide) prices were relatively stable in the month due to a temporary reduction in supply of caprolactam, a key nylon ingredient, due to reported plant maintenance, but this will correct itself soon. Several new caprolactam plants are coming on line in China, which will result in lower intermediate and nylon prices.

Spandex prices were down slightly in August due to reported soft demand.

Asian synthetic fiber prices are almost 21 percent below the world average.

The European synthetic fiber price index fell by 1.7%, though European synthetic prices remain 23 percent above the world average.

The U.S. index fell by 1.2%, putting the U.S. synthetic fiber prices index at 47 percent above the global average. Stateside polyester capacity is increasing, particularly bulk continuous filament (BCF) for carpeting, but also modestly for textiles as well. Nylon capacity has stabilized following several plant closures.