The Fiber Year GmbH, Switzerland, and its managing director, Andreas W. Engelhardt, have announced
the upcoming release in both English and Chinese of “The Fiber Year 2012 World Survey on Textiles
& Nonwovens” on May 11, 2012, following a press conference at the Frankfurt-based
Industrievereinigung Chemiefaser e.V. The report, which has been produced for more than 50 years,
going forward will be published in cooperation with Austria-based regenerated cellulosic fiber
producer Lenzing AG.
According to a preview of the report, made available in advance of the May 11 release, 2011
global fiber usage totaled more than 51 million metric tons of man-made fibers and nearly 30
million metric tons of natural fibers. The record-high total of 81 million metric tons represents a
1-percent increase over 2010 fiber usage, and a per-capita consumption rate of nearly 12 kilograms.
Over the last three to four years, man-made-fiber usage has steadily increased, while natural fiber
usage has remained basically flat and begun to decline. The report projects a 1.9-percent decrease
in natural fibers consumption, including a decrease in cotton consumption even though cotton
production increased substantially, as well as respective 2.8-percent and 4.2-percent consumption
increases of synthetic and regenerated cellulosic fibers.
The surge in cotton prices to an all-time high of $2.4365 per pound contributed to an
overall rise in fiber prices, although the price differential with polyester has increased, giving
impetus for higher usage of polyester in place of cotton. Viscose staple fiber prices were on a par
with cotton prices, which in this case put viscose in an improved position over cotton.
Price levels have trended lower and inventory levels have been rising as a result of
concerns including the financial condition in the United States and the high debt levels of certain
European countries, but the report notes these trends have slowed significantly.
Within the man-made fiber sector, polyester has increased its market share to 73 percent,
due mainly to higher-than-average growth in filament production, particularly for carpet and
industrial filament. Cellulosics and polyamides also have gained market share, while polypropylene
and acrylic fibers have lost share. Aramid, carbon and elastane fibers are believed to have
achieved record-high levels, although they comprise a very small portion of the whole sector.
In terms of geographic sectors, China’s market share is greater than 60 percent. Other Asian
countries including Japan and Indonesia are believed to have increased production; while India,
South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand are estimated to have decreased production. Output in Europe and
the Americas also declined.
April 24, 2012