Yarn Market: Orders Strong; Capacity Expanding

By Jim Phillips, Yarn Market Editor

Orders for yarn continued to be strong in early July across virtually every segment. Open-end yarns are moving well and the demand for ring-spun yarns is such that buyers are struggling to locate product.

“Ring-spun yarns are hard to find right now, as they have been for quite some time,” said one yarn broker. “Ring spun seems to be in short supply everywhere, not just in the United States. If you need a large position with quick delivery, I wish you luck, because I think it is going to be hard to get large quantities anytime soon, unless you have a lot of leverage. We have reached the point where, when times are good, as they have been for the past year or more, we have pretty much maxed out our ring-spun production capacity. I think this provides us with an opportunity for sustained growth in the U.S. yarn industry that we haven’t seen in decades. For the first time in recent memory, the business sector is growing again. New plants are being built and others expanded. Providing our government doesn’t derail us through unfavorable trade agreements, I believe we are going to see manufacturing of textiles, in general, and yarn, in particular, see substantial growth in the United States.”

Technology, Service Driving Growth
Added a Southeastern spinner: “When you look at the advantages the U.S. industry has, it is no surprise that it is beginning to grow again. We have more technology, better production processes, faster delivery and more attentive customer service than any industry in any country. Our customers who have come back, after experimenting in Asia, tell us that no one can match our service and delivery, and that we are much more competitive on price than a lot of people think.”

In terms of textile exports, the United States trails only China and India in supplying yarn and fabric to the rest of the world. In 2013, textile exports totaled nearly $13 billion. But what has been even more encouraging is the increasing affinity of U.S. consumers for domestic products. “A lot of programs coming back are a result of customers who continue to see their costs in Asia go up while their service goes down. With reduced transportation and inventory costs, it is beginning to make more sense for many companies to return their programs to the United States. But a big part, as well, is being driven by consumers, who pay increasing attention such things as sustainability, traceability and transparency.”

As a result of this increased demand, after seeing more than 650 textile plants close from 1997 to 2009, the industry is once again on the move, and numerous sources agree. Organizations in countries around the world are in the process of building or expanding textile facilities in the United States, with activity in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Just recently, it was revealed by several sources that Nan Ya Plastics Corp. is planning an expansion of its staple capacity at the company’s Lake City, S.C., plant. The expansion is reported to include a new spin line with approximately 40 million to 50 million pounds of capacity. The new line will be able to run a range of deniers and is expected to be operational in the second half of 2016. This will be the first new virgin spin line installed in the United States in more than 10 years. Products made at the South Carolina plant include polyester chip for the textile and bottle/sheet industries, polyester staple fiber and polyester continuous filament yarns including POY, DTY, FDY, and HOY As with many yarns and fibers, polyester staple demand has been both strong and steady over the past year, prompting the Nan Ya expansion.

Cotton Prices Remain Unchanged
Cotton prices have remained stable over much of the past year. As of June 25, quotations for the base quality of cotton (color 41, leaf 4, staple 34, mike 35-36 and 43-49, strength 27.0-28.9, uniformity 81.0-81.9) in the seven designated markets measured by the USDA averaged 62.47 cents per pound, up from 62.39 cents the previous week, but substantially lower the 77.72 cents reported for the corresponding period a year ago.

July/August 2015