The increase in global synthetic fiber prices that set nerves on edge during the first few months of 2017 slowed in April, according to the most recent data from PCI Research.
In Asia, prices fell by 4.2% compared to February, but rose 11.4% year-over-year. Polyester prices have backed off their big increases due to softening oil prices and weakening demand from both domestic and export markets. Nylon textile filament, the prices of which began increasingly sharply toward the end of 2016 due to raw materials shortages and cost hikes, retreated dramatically in April. Spandex prices continued to rise, a result of tight intermediates supply more than strong demand. Viscose prices declined significantly in the month, but acrylic staple remained stable.
Asian synthetic fiber prices remain almost 22 percent below the global average.
In the U.S., prices rose by 4 percent compared to last year, and 6.7% from last month. Polyester filament prices have been volatile lately, characterized by wide weekly swings in demand as the apparel retail market continues to adjust to consumer shifts to non-traditional channels and demands for increased speed-to-market. Staple demand has been soft. Nylon prices have increased significantly over the past couple of months, though the hoped-for increase in military orders has not yet materialized. Spandex prices haven’t moved much. U.S. synthetic fiber prices are 53 percent above the global average.
Foreign investment in the U.S. textile market continues. Georgia-based Buhler yarns has been acquired by Samil Spinning of Korea. Sri Lankan fabric and apparel producer MAS Holdings is purchasing legwear and seamless manufacturer Acme-McCrary to increase its foothold in the U.S. market.
Invista acquired Cone’s portfolio of dual core patents, which Cone sells into the denim and other markets under the trademark SGene. Invista is trying to sell its apparel fibers unit, which includes Lycra.
In Europe, prices rose 4.4% from last month and 10.2% from last year. The polyester filament business remains stable. The nylon market in the region continued to strengthen thanks to a strong hosiery business and tight supplies. European fiber prices are almost 21 percent above the global average. Montefibre has restarted its acrylic plant in Spain.