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Are Synthetic Fiber Prices Finally Heading Up?

Global synthetic fiber prices continue to fall, but not by the precipitous rates of earlier this year, pointing to a potential firming, if not an actual increase, in prices by early 2017.

According to recent data from consulting firm PCI Fibres, in August and September, the global price index declined by 6.5% and 4.4%, respectively, the smallest drop in nearly two years.

Rising demand for apparel and textiles in developing markets has helped firm prices, as have expectations that increasing oil prices will result in higher fiber intermediates costs.

In Asia, the world’s largest fiber-producing region, synthetic fiber prices fell by almost 5 percent year-over-year in September, their smallest drop since July 2014. Demand for polyester, the dominant synthetic fiber in the world based on consumption, remains strong.

Nylon prices are expected to rise on a shortage of raw materials, according to the division of PCI Wood Mackenzie, especially HMD (hexamethylene diamine) due to at least one Force Majeure.

The spandex business has been relatively strong, with prices rising due to healthy demand and higher raw materials costs. There is speculation in the industry that Invista’s apparel fibers business, including Lycra spandex, is up for sale.

Asian synthetic fiber prices remain more than 24 percent below the world average.

The European synthetic fiber price index fell by almost 3 percent compared to September 2015, its smallest year-over-year drop in more than two years. European prices are more than 21 percent above the global average.

The U.S. index fell by 4.9% percent in September, its smallest jump in two years. U.S. synthetic prices remain more than 60 percent above the word average.