Germany-based Oerlikon Textile GmbH & Co. KG — a division of Switzerland-based OC Oerlikon
Corp. AG — and The Fiber Year Consulting have published The Fiber Year 2011 report providing a
comprehensive survey of the global textile and nonwoven industries.
According to the report, the global textile industry in 2010 saw the strongest growth in 25
years. Annual fiber growth averaged 3.4 percent in the last decade, with manufacturing volumes of
natural and man-made fibers rising by 8.6 percent, or 6.4 million metric tons, to 80.8 million
metric tons. Natural fibers increased only 2.2 percent, while manufactured cellulosic and all major
man-made fibers excluding acrylics increased at double-digit rates. Polyester industrial filament
yarn soared 37 percent, and viscose fibers saw record-breaking 17-percent growth.
The price of cotton reached an all-time high of 186 cents per pound on December 21 — more
than double the cost in August — which has brought on generally surging raw material fiber prices,
and has somewhat encouraged the usage of competitive fibers at comparatively lower costs. Cotton
stocks are projected to stay below the long-term average. Although a large crop is expected for the
next season, future expansion will be constricted as arable land and water are dedicated to food
production — a situation that will favor increased polyester and viscose production. Although
comparatively small in terms of volume, carbon fiber production also is projected to drive growth,
continuing to expand at double-digit rates in upcoming years, with aircraft and automotive industry
developments stimulating demand.
The report states that the global economic recovery led to the rapid rise in demand in 2010.
Increasing incomes, reduced unemployment and growing consumer confidence led to increased spending
on apparel and growing demand for technical textiles. The carpet sector continued its decline as a
result of the financial crisis, but it is now beginning to recover.
Rising inflation rates in emerging countries resulting from increasing food prices and energy
costs affected last year’s performance, but they also have brought on surging new machinery
investments, especially for cotton and man-made fiber spinning and processing machinery. Because
the global textile machinery manufacturing industry was unprepared for the sudden rise in new
orders, delivery delays are above average. As the report notes, an outstanding order backlog may
appear positive, but it may also redirect demand for capital goods. There has been an increase in
second-hand machine trading, which is especially prevalent in Asia.
The report notes that the surge in investments is a sign that markets are confident about
business. This attitude, in combination with the anticipated economic growth, indicates that the
increase in textile consumption should continue in 2011.
May 17, 2011