Oerlikon Textile GmbH & Co. KG’s “The Fiber Year” report is a valuable source of information
about annual global fiber consumption. Here are some general trends: In total, global fiber
consumption increased 4.2 percent up to 70.5 million metric tons (tonnes). Man-made fiber
consumption rose 4.0 percent to 44.1 million tonnes, and natural fibers netted an increase of 4.5
percent up to 26.4 million tonnes. The average fiber consumption per head is estimated at 10.4
kilograms based of a world population of 6.8 billion people.
Following are some excerpts from Oerlikon Textile’s summary of “The Fiber Year 2009/10,”
which will be published in June 2010:
Current season’s world cotton production is expected to decline 4.8 percent to 22.3 million
tonnes. The increasing approval and cultivation of genetically modified cotton had resulted in
soaring cotton yields. … Current season’s output returned to the long-term trend due to
3.5-percent lower yields per hectare in the actual season and the fifth consecutive seasonal
decline in cotton area. In contrast, global consumption is projected to rise 5.4 percent to 25.2
World wool production fell 7.4 percent at 1.1 million tonnes clean weight in 2009, marking
the seventh annual decline …. Apparel wool [fell] 8 percent to 552,000 tonnes, while production
of wool used in interior textiles fell 6 percent to 547,000 tonnes. Almost half the world output
comes from Australia, PR China and New Zealand. … [Australia] is the world’s largest supplier of
apparel wool, accounting for around 50 percent of world production.
The cellulosic fiber market increased by 7.7 percent to 3.8 million tonnes …. [D]ue to
lower output in Europe and the United States, [filament production] declin[ed] by 5.4 percent to
351,000 tonnes. The production of viscose staple fibers soared 11.4 percent to 2.7 million tonnes
thanks to growing demand in nonwovens, textile applications and flame retardant product ….
Viscose fibers strongly benefited from a shortage in cotton and an increasing requirement for
comfort that cotton could not meet. Above-average consumption became apparent in PR China and India
as a result of rising household incomes. Huge investments in this sector in PR China expected to
come on-stream in 2010 may give cause for serious concern related to supply of raw material and
search of new sales areas needed to operate these breathtaking investments at full capacity. Steady
growth momentum was provided by the subsector of acetate tows, rising 2.3 percent to 759,000
The total market was up 3.7 percent to 40.3 million tonnes. … The man-made fiber spinning
business has further declined in developed countries, while Asia continued to gain market shares.
The Asian manufacturing volume of more than 36 million tonnes corresponds to a global 83-percent
market share. The Chinese industry increased its output by 11.2 percent to 26.3 million tonnes.
The fundamental change of the polyester business has continued in favor of PR China, actually
taking in a 69-percent share. The economic center of gravity will continue to be in PR China as
several large-scale expansion projects in textile and industrial yarn markets will shortly come
The strong growth in the polyester textile yarn production of 6.7 percent to 18.2 million
tonnes was driven by a small number of Asian countries while the Western Hemisphere reported heavy
declines. This has lifted the Asian market share to nearly 97 percent. … [Greater European
textile filament] production volume fell 22 percent and the Americas suffered from a decline of 15
percent last year.
The industrial yarn business has suffered from the downturn in the automotive industry. The
global output of polyester industrial yarn was down 6.1 percent to nearly 1.1 million tonnes. While
production in Greater Europe dramatically fell by 44 percent, the Americas were down 19 percent.
According to figures from the China Chemical Fiber Association, national output increased by 22
percent to 550,000 tonnes.
The staple business grew 4.4 percent to 12.6 million tonnes [with] Asia … accounting for an
89-percent market share. … [I]n PR China, [w]hile national output rose 9 percent to 7.9 million
tonnes, the average utilization rate was just slightly above 70 percent last year. India …
increased volumes by 15 percent to around 860,000 tonnes …. Taiwan and South Korea … both
managed to lift output as well. … Production in Greater Europe went down by 14 percent to below
600,000 tonnes. While Turkey was stable, Western Europe decreased by 23 percent to 268,000 tonnes
…. In the Americas, production declined by 15 percent to about 725,000 tonnes.
Polyamide fibers [production declined] by 1.4 percent to 3.5 million tonnes in 2009.
Continuously rising caprolactam prices… have resulted in increasing prices of the subsequent
products. Furthermore, the depressed housing market in the United States and lower vehicle build
rates have put additional strain on the industry. … [T]extile yarn was up by 8.3 percent at 1.6
million tonnes. [In] other sectors the industrial yarn business [declined] 7.4 percent at 0.9
million tonnes, carpet yarn [fell] 8.0 percent to 0.7 million tonnes and staple fibers [dropped]
15.7 percent to 214,000 tonnes.
The world polyropylene market decreased by 6.5 percent to 2.6 million tonnes, suffering from
a substantial increase in fiber grade prices from the second quarter and reduced consumer spending
for home textiles. In the United States, slow demand for carpet yarn and increasing substitution by
polyester have put additional pressure on the industry. While staple fiber applications increased
by 3.5 percent to 1.1 million tonnes, output of filament yarns declined by 12.7 percent to 1.5
The acrylic fibers market has seen its first growth after four years of contraction …. In
2009, the global output rose 4.4 percent to 1.9 million tonnes. The recovery of operating rates
started in Asia and reached Europe in the second quarter whereas the Americas did not witness any
Global Yarn Production At Almost 62 Million Tonnes
The 2009 world output of yarns was up 4.0 percent to 61.8 million tonnes. Filament yarns
increased 3.4 percent to 24.8 million tonnes, of which carpet yarns (excluding polyester carpet
yarn) dropped 13.4 percent to 1.7 million tonnes, industrial yarns declined 6.9 percent to 2.4
million tonnes and textile filament yarns were up 6.4 percent at 20.7 million tonnes. Short staple
yarn rose 5.1 percent to 32.9 million tonnes and long staple yarn remained at … 4.1 million
tonnes. The Chinese output volume accounted for 39.7 million tonnes [64-percent market share].
India has produced 5.7 million tonnes [9 percent]. The United States managed to achieve a
manufacturing volume of 1.9 million tonnes, followed by Taiwan with 1.5 million and South Korea
with 1.1 million tonnes.
[In the nonwovens industry] personal hygiene … and medical were not impacted by the
economic slowdown. … [A]utomotive, construction and home textiles, however, suffered from the
slump in economic activities. In total, last year’s output … increased by 6.3 percent to 7.1
million tonnes …. In developed countries, growth in population and disposable income will further
lead to increased spending for consumer disposables. Further, an aging population will raise the
demand for medical nonwovens and adult incontinence products. … [I]nvestments in infrastructure
will assist the industrial development for geotextiles and agricultural applications.
Source: Oerlikon Textile (www.oerlikontextile.com)
May 25, 2010