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Synthetic Fiber Prices Post First Increase in Three Years

Global synthetic fiber prices increased in November for the first time in more than three years, according to the most recent PCI Wood Mackenzie data.

The firm’s Synthetic Fibres Index rose by 0.2% in November 2016 compared to the same month a year earlier, buoyed by rising global demand for apparel and textiles and by higher oil prices that have caused fiber intermediates costs to spike.

Crude oil prices rose by 18 percent last month, allowing producers of polyester and nylon intermediates and fibers to increase their prices.

In Asia, the world’s largest fiber-producing region, synthetic fiber prices rose by 2 percent, the first increase for the price index in that region since November of 2011.

Demand for polyester filament appears to be stronger than a year ago, with many producers running at roughly 85 percent of capacity going into the Lunar New Year. Staple producers are running at about 80 percent, with prices are rising for those products as well.

Nylon prices are also expected to rise in early 2017 due to the higher oil prices and indications that demand is starting to recover.

The spandex business has been relatively strong, with prices rising due to healthy demand and higher raw materials costs, with production capacity utilization near 90 percent. Much attention is still being focused on the possible sale by Invista of its Lycra spandex business, reportedly to a Chinese company.

Acrylic staple is the one synthetic fiber whose prices have decreased due to weak seasonal demand and lower raw material prices.

Asian synthetic fiber prices remain more than 22 percent below the world average.

The European synthetic fiber price index increased by 3.5% compared to November 2015, its biggest year-over-year rise since July 2014. European prices are more than 17 percent above the global average.

The U.S. index fell by 4.9% percent in November, its second smallest monthly decline in two years. U.S. synthetic prices remain more than 56 percent above the word average.