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Fiber Prices Benefit From Polyester Strength in China – But Not for Long

After declining in October, synthetic fiber prices stabilized a bit in November, helped by firming prices in Asia. However, many textile industry watchers feel this is a temporary situation.

According to data released by consulting firm PCI Fibres, the global synthetic fiber price index, which tracks the weighted average price for acrylic, nylon, polyester and polypropylene filament yarns and staple fibers, fell by .8% in the last month, compared to a 1.1% drop in the prior month.

In Asia, the world’s largest fiber-producing region and therefore the most important pricing barometer, prices dropped by only 1.6%, half of October’s 3.2% decline.

Polyester fiber prices had been dropping steadily in China for several months due to a slowing in demand for filament fabrics and spun yarn, so this rebound, which many believe will be short-lived, has been a welcome break for producers. An unconfirmed report estimates that polyester fiber sales to capacity peeked above 70% in the past month for the first time in a while. This might have been due to a rationalization of capacity, however.

Downward pressure on spun yarn prices and lower intermediates prices will no doubt continue to challenge polyester spinners in China.

Nylon (polyamide) prices slid unexpectedly in the past month following a sharp drop in intermediates prices. Caprolactam fell by more than 5% and benzene dropped over 3.5%. An increase in supply due to new capacity coming onstream might be part of the cause.

Spandex prices are expected to continue rising due both to strong demand from the automotive sector and spandex’s increased penetration of the higher end of ready-to-wear apparel market. Acrylic yarn prices remained stable.

Asian synthetic fiber prices are almost 20% below the world average.

The European index rose negligibly in the month. European synthetic prices are about 21% above the world average.

The US index was virtually flat. US synthetic fiber prices index about 44% above the global average.