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Synthetic Fiber Prices Soften in August

After rising in each of the key world market regions in July, synthetic fiber prices stabilized in August, impacted by demand uncertainty, very hot weather in China, currency values, and volatility in crude oil prices.

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, increased by 3.1% in August compared to the same month last year, a smaller rise than July’s 3.9%, but consistent with the recent trend of higher prices than at this time last year.

In Asia, the world’s largest fiber-producing region and therefore the pricing barometer, prices edged up only 1.7% compared to the same month last year, less than the increases seen in July and June. Volatile oil prices stemming from a slowing in gasoline demand in the U.S. and unrest in Egypt and Syria have impacted supply and prices of fiber intermediates, particularly those for polyester and nylon. Extremely hot weather in China resulted in sporadic power outages throughout the country that interrupted production. An unconfirmed report said the polyester filament yarn sector was operating at about 75% capacity.

Demand for nylon has slowed, while ingredients costs, particularly those of caprolactam, have risen.

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

Acrylic yarn prices have been relatively flat for the past six months.

Asian yarn producers expect a seasonal rebound in demand, though fear it will be difficult, if not impossible, to raise prices due to the extreme cost sensitivity of virtually all apparel customers. Asian prices remain 19% below the world average.

The European index surged 5.5%, below last month’s 6.1% jump. European synthetic prices are about 20% above the world average.

The US index rose by 3.9%, after falling 1.7% in June, and remains 43% above the world average.