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Yarn Market
J. Karl Rudy, Technical Editor

South Of The Border For T-Shirts

By J. Karl Rudy, Technical Editor

O pen-end spinners report that their markets are “ pretty good.” They are, of course, talking about volume because pricing continues to be a major concern. One such spinner said: “ Open-end markets are very busy, especially in the finer counts.” When asked if this would continue he said: “ Well, today is Friday and it may stop Monday. It actually started about three weeks ago and I just hope it will last until we can improve our pricing.”

There is no competition from imports because, according to this spinner, there is no competitive advantage. The process is so automated that labor costs are minimal. The domestic oversupply and resulting low prices of these yarns also contribute to the lack of import interest.

There is no competition from imports because, according to this spinner, there is no competitive advantage. The process is so automated that labor costs are minimal. The domestic oversupply and resulting low prices of these yarns also contribute to the lack of import interest.

Another OE spinner echoed market and pricing conditions but added: “All T-shirt yarn is going to Mexico these days, but I predict that demand will go down faster than supply goes up. In today’s market everyone (in OE spinning) is trying to find a piece of the pie. Capacity needs to be reduced by the industry. I can understand trying to expand your business but I can’t understand why anyone in their right mind wants to build a new OE mill and add to an already flooded market.”

With current open-end market conditions all spinners agree — if you want to stay in business you need new or comparatively new machinery. You must keep your equipment up-to-date. And most importantly, you must find niches where you can fit.

Ring-Spun Doing Well
On the other hand, cotton ring-spun yarns, while suffering more competition from imports, are doing OK. Markets are active and pricing is reasonable.

As one spinner put it: “Pricing on ring-spun yarns is such that we can use it to offset the losses in selling open-end yarns. The bulk of imported ring-spun yarns is for the ‘low end’ of the market and contributes to the further ‘Walmartization’ of America.” This is not an unusual spinner comment.

Markets of both carded and combed ring-spun yarns for weavers are tight. Combed cotton in these markets are better in their pricing as you might expect, but with the anticipated growth in demand for carded yarns, pricing will improve.

A spinner, commenting on his markets said: “Weaving business is better, and the demand for yarns for denim fabrics has improved. Industrial customers are talking about moving to finer counts of ring-spun yarn and business is good.”

The spinner went on to say: “Home furnishing markets are holding, and hosiery markets are in their off-season but will come back in a few weeks. Air-jet markets are tight as well. As to open-end yarns, we have opportunities in this area.”

Weavers experience many of the same problems as spinners. According to weavers, business is “ reasonably good” for cotton fabrics but not good enough to permit full operations.

Shipping To Mexico
Weaving of non-cotton, all synthetic, fabrics is, as one weaver put it, “under the gun.” He went on to say: “We are losing most of our business in this area to imported garments.” Unfortunately, with the legislation pending in Congress, we can only look forward to more of the same.

Some synthetic yarns are being shipped to Mexico and some spinners are meeting there to try to improve business. The question for many textile manufacturers is whether to ship yarn there or to build there. The fact that Mexico provides fertile ground for union activity is of great concern to textile manufacturers.

“It could be very interesting,” said one spinner. “My own experience with just the shipping of yarn was very interesting. I found that I could ship yarn to Mexico far cheaper than I could ship yarn to, say Pennsylvania, and the yarn would be delivered to the customer’s premises.

“You know it took about 50 years for the textile industry to move from the North to the South. It will take 5 to 15 years to move from the U.S.A. to Mexico, but it will take far less than that for the textile industry to move out of Mexico to somewhere else more compatible.”

And the change goes on and on and on.

YarnMarketApril_970

April 2000



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