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Worldwide Synthetic Fiber Prices Remain Soft in October

Global synthetic fiber prices fell by 20.8% in October, their second steepest monthly decline in more than six years, according to recent data from consulting firm PCI Fibres.

Though the price of crude oil rose by 3 percent in the month, slowing global demand due to curtailed economic growth and an oversupply of apparel in key markets in the U.S. and Europe continue to drive the declines.

In Asia, the world’s largest fiber-producing region, synthetic fiber prices fell by 23 percent year-over-year, due primarily to slowing demand for polyester, by far the biggest fiber in terms of worldwide and regional volume. Polyester filament prices were pretty stable during the month. Polyester staple has seen the slight pickup in demand expected at this time of year.

Chinese demand for staple has been slightly better than for filament and is expected to get a boost from seasonal demand for fiberfill in outwear for local consumption and exports.

Nylon 6 prices remained relatively stable in the month, but low utilization rates brought on by an addition of new capacity in China continues to pressure profits. Spandex prices fell slightly in the month.

Viscose prices in China have remained firm, rising 1 percent compared to September, and fiber producers have little to no inventory, as the fibers continue to replace cotton and wool in heavy gauge sweaters and other knitted apparel.

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

The European synthetic fiber price index fell by almost 22 percent compared to September 2014, its smallest year-over-year drop in three months, but capping 13 consecutive months of double-digit declines. European prices are 17 percent above the global average.

The U.S. index fell by more than 16 percent in September, the least of any major world region, but its biggest monthly drop since August 2009.