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Polyester Prices Stabilize in April on Higher Oil Prices

The decline in synthetic fiber prices slowed in April as oil prices started to firm.

The global synthetic fiber price index fell by 15.7% compared to the same month last year, its nineteenth consecutive month of year-over-year declines, but the smallest drop in five months, according to recent data from consulting firm PCI Fibres.

Rising crude oil prices helped to mitigate the effect of sluggish global demand. Oil prices have been rising in recent weeks, up 30 percent since mid-March, and are now above $62 per barrel for the first time since last December, though remain 30 percent lower than a year ago, dogged by stubbornly high supplies, economic uncertainty and slowing consumer demand.

In Asia, the world’s largest fiber-producing region, synthetic fiber prices fell by almost 12 percent in the month, a much smaller decline than March’s 18 percent drop.

In China, increases in petrochemicals prices allowed both filament and staple producers to raise prices. Prices in India have not moved very much, however.

After rising about 2 percent in China in the prior month, due to a sharp increase in raw materials costs, type 6 nylon prices in China have been stable in the past month. Spandex prices, after remaining stable for several months, have been falling for the past 6-8 weeks,  as new capacity has come on stream to weaken the market at the same time that demand is softening in some key apparel markets.

Asian synthetic fiber prices are more than 18 percent below the world average.

The European synthetic fiber price index fell by almost 27 percent compared to April 2014, as prices there have reportedly stabilized in the past month, particularly in polyester filament. European synthetic prices ended the month at almost 10 percent above the world average.

The U.S. index fell by more than 13 percent in April. Inventories are low and demand is stable, resulting in a high sales-to-capacity level that is keeping U.S. prices almost 51 percent above the global average. The rise in oil prices will help keep prices firm, and might revive interest in recycled polyester.