By J. Karl Rudy, Technical Editor
t’s amazing,” said one cotton spinner. “Open-end yarn sales have improved.” This spinner
didn’t say how much but even a little bit is an improvement over the recent past.
Another cotton spinner added: “The OE KP (open-end, carded-cotton) markets are fairly strong now, but prices are very low. The T-shirt market is very strong, but there is so much yarn chasing these markets it keeps the pricing depressed.”
Other cotton markets that are strong are those for either carded or combed ring-spun yarns. A look at the asking prices this month will give you a feeling for just how strong.
A cotton mill respondent said: “The ring-spun markets are very strong. Of course, as the demand for ring-spun yarns improves, demand for other yarns decreases. Air-jet yarns are very slow today, and the demand for OE poly/cotton has shifted to cotton.
“As our customers and retailers offer better products that are softer, have a better hand, are more comfortable to wear and are generally more desireable — this trend toward ring-spun yarns will continue.”
That means that spinners must continually look for new outlets for their products and possibly new products for completely different markets.
Several cotton spinners said that their markets had not changed signficantly since Christmas. They are still concerned about how their markets are affected by imported yarn and garments.
The cotton sweater market is “terrible” as one spinner put it. He blamed imported yarns being used by knitters plus the number of sweaters imported by retailers.
When asked if their mills were running full, most said they were running relatively full but added: “We are curtailing just enough to control inventories.”
When an open-end spinner was asked how his markets are, he said: “Markets? What markets? Everytime we talk it gets worse, and it is difinitely not the fault of imports. Domestic producers are simply dumping yarn.
They are running their mills with T-shirt mentality — run full, then dump it. People in this industry no longer have sound business principles anymore.”
In trying to define the reasons for this, he mentioned ego, greed and survival on the part of management, but said that the prices at which yarns are being sold would not satisfy any of the above. He agreed that it was ridiculous to sell yarns at prices that prohibit a reasonable profit.
There is a true tale of a yarn salesman who had a customer tell him: “Why don’t you guys get
together and put some sanity into these markets? Every time I get a quote from you, another
salesman comes a day or two later and offers the same yarn at a cheaper price. It has gotten so
that I’m afraid to buy a yarn for fear of not getting the best price.”
It was reported to the Yarn Market that an 18/1, open-end, carded-cotton yarn was sold at a price of $0.91 per pound. The asking price for the same yarn this month has a wide range of $1.05 to $1.20. The range itself tells us something, doesn’t it? Ask yourself not how much this mill is losing but how long before they go out of business.
Synthetic spinners say that their
overall business is OK but that it is either “feast or famine.” Knits and woven apparel business is
poor while home furnishings and industrial applications are doing pretty well.
One of the synthetic spinners said: “Right now our knitting customers are struggling. As you know, the rayon business has been in the tank for over a year. We still make rayon yarns but there are none currently in production.
“Colored yarn business, on the other hand, is very good. For this time of year business is about normal. Under normal conditions we expect April, May and June to be the strongest time of the year.” (By the time readers see this, business should have picked up.)
He added, “I’ve never seen textiles struggle as they are now. And when you do sell, there is no satisfaction because there is virtually no profit left after the sale. This applies not only to spinners but to our customers as well.”