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Yarn Market
Clarence D. Rogers, Ph.D., Technical Editor

Prices Continue To Rise

Clarence D. Rogers, Ph.D., Technical Editor

D emand for most yarns is strong. A spinner told Yarn Market, “We’re really feeling good right now. Running flat out. The last few months have been very good, and August was great. Our weaving and knitting customers are firm.” He went on to say, “ Several things are contributing to business improvements. There has been about a one-third reduction in the number of manufacturing firms. So this is helping those that remain. And I have heard that some weavers and knitters are not satisfied offshore, so they are planning to come back onshore. This will also be a help to all of us. But the biggest help is the value of the dollar moving back to a more normal level. This is the quickest way for us to move back to normal operations.”

Another spinner responded, “Our customers are very positive. They can’t tell us how long this business is going to last. There is no real concrete information. They don’t know. But right now it is very good, and the next quarter is looking good.” Maybe the upturn is real.

“The yarn market is strong, and prices continue to increase going into September,” a knitter said. “I am not sure that we will see the same increases during the fourth quarter. I sense that there may be a slowing in price increases or a leveling-off in prices. My suppliers seem to be more willing to talk about prices than they have been for the past several weeks.”

MJS And MVS Yarns

Demand for Murata Jet Spinner (MJS) and Murata Vortex Spinner (MVS) yarns is strong. Several of the plants that had closed are reopening — some under new ownership. Contributing to this increase in demand is the “no pilling” characteristic of MJS and MVS yarns.

In many applications, this is a very important characteristic. Yarn customers seem to be taking a hard look at this, and fleece manufacturers are going more and more in this direction. A buyer of these yarns said, “Prices are firm, and offshore suppliers are finding it difficult to compete in the United States.”

Prices Are Still Up

From Yarn Market data, the 10/1 100-percent cotton carded ring-spun (RS) yarn was selling in the range of $1.51 to $1.55 per pound five years ago and $1.25 to $1.32 last year. Today’s price is $1.17. Five years ago, a 30/1 100-percent cotton carded RS yarn was selling for $1.75 per pound. Last year, it was $1.60 to $1.67, and today, it is $1.49.

A look at open-end (OE) yarn during this same period shows that 10/1 100-percent cotton yarn was selling in the range of $1.07 to $1.18 per pound five years ago. Last year, it was $0.89 to $0.95. Today, the price is quoted at $0.84. The quoted price for a 20/1 100-percent cotton carded OE yarn in September 1998 was $1.24 to $1.45. Last year, it was $1.02 to $1.09. This month, the asking price is $0.98.

Basic Needs: Food, Clothing And Shelter

We learned a long time ago that there are three basic human needs — food, clothing and shelter. Over the past several decades, we have seen the United States lose out in being able to provide one of these — clothing. Apparel manufacturing has gone offshore. As a result, the textile industry has, and is, losing market share in its battle to compete in yarn and fabric arenas. The last U.S. shirt manufacturer recently announced that it was closing, and we get the feeling that all apparel will soon be produced offshore. So, there goes this basic need, clothing, from our shores.

A second one of these basic needs may be in trouble in the United States — food. U.S. land planted in crops has dropped 40 million acres in the past 20 years. Other countries are adding farmland and producing crops for export. Sounds familiar. Brazil’s soybean crops increased by 17 million acres during the same time period. U.S. crop production is going offshore as well. U.S. farmers and textiles are facing the same dilemma. The playing field is not level. Farmers feel they are treated unfairly. The question is whether foreign competitors will have an unfair advantage. Will our food production go offshore? Why don’t textiles and agriculture lobby as one?

Last month, President Bush was granted “fast track” trade authority. The president and other trade advocates believe that “global trade will boost the world economy by creating jobs, lowering prices and improving living standards around the world.” Is it a secret who has the advantage?

September 2002


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