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Global trends in fibre production, consumption and prices, March-April 2008
published in Issue 134, March-April 2008
World man-made fibre production rose at a significantly higher rate in 2007 than in the previous year. Output was up by 9.5% to 40.7 mn tons, following a 3.1% hike in 2006. However, the rise in 2007 was sustained entirely by strong growth in China.
In terms of fibre type, synthetics accounted for most of the growth in world man-made fibre production—and almost all of the increase in synthetics was due to a rise in polyester. But cellulosics were also up, by a healthy 16.4%.
Output of natural fibres fell by 3.9% in 2007, which partly reversed an 8.0% rise in 2006. The fall was caused by a 3.9% reduction in cotton output—following an 8.4% increase in 2006—as growers began to switch to alternative crops. Reflecting these trends, the cotton price rose throughout much of 2007 to peak at 80 cents/lb in early 2008. In the case of wool, the clip declined in 2007 following a fall in 2006. As a result of these trends, the share of natural fibres in total fibre output fell from 43.1% in 2006 to 39.9% in 2007.
In the 2007/08 season the demand for cotton is predicted to remain broadly static. The main causes will be slower global economic growth and competition—in terms of price—from substitute fibres. At the same time, cotton output will be down by 1.7%, according to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC). Demand will therefore continue to outstrip supply, causing some mild upward pressure on prices. The cotton price, according to the ICAC, will average 73 cents/lb in 2007/08—14 cents/lb more than in 2006/07. And in the 2008/09 season it is likely to creep up further, by 6 cents/lb.
Wool prices have fallen away after peaking in January 2008 as the effect of the drought on the Australian clip has eased and demand has weakened. The stock position remains tight but there is little prospect of any strong recovery in demand. In China, consumption remains strong and this is serving to sustain global demand. But demand elsewhere is being depressed by restructuring in the textile industries in industrialised countries. The outlook for 2008/09 is for some further weakening of prices as stocks fall slightly although any imbalance between supply and demand will be minimal.
Table of Contents
Global Trends in Fibre Production, Consumption and Prices
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