Market Survey 2006 – Fiber Production


Editor’s Note: The following article contains preliminary 2006 fiber production figures from
Saurer GmbH & Co. The complete publication, “The Fiber Year 2006/07,” comprising final figures
and a more detailed analysis, is now available in the News section under the Media tab located at:
www.textile.saurer.com. Since early 2007 Saurer
has been part of OC Oerlikon Corp. AG, Switzerland. Going forward, the textile technology business
segment is operating under the name Oerlikon Saurer Textile.





D
ue to a revision of Chinese man-made fiber production figures, the total 2005 output had
to be amended to a volume of 71.1 million metric tons. The adjustment resulted from a 0.7
million-metric-tons-higher output in polyester fibers. Based on this updated level, 2006 production
managed to further increase by 5.1 percent to 74.7 million metric tons.

Cotton consumption is forecast to set a new all-time record in the current season with a
volume of 26.3 million metric tons, representing a 4.5-percent increase over the previous season.
Once again, cotton demand is exceeding production. This leads to a decline in stocks by 10 percent
to about 10 million metric tons.

p56

Wool has enjoyed its second consecutive rise in output, achieving a level of 1.3
million metric tons.

Cellulosic fibers have confirmed their long-term trend with increasing output of staple
fibers and declining production of filaments. The total production volume has gone up by 5.9
percent to 3.4 million metric tons. The dynamic development of viscose fibers has clearly led the
industry – they managed to rise by 9.3 percent to 2.3 million metric tons. Little change was seen
in acetate tow. While the entire textile filament yarn business further declined, the small-scale
industrial filament segment enjoyed higher volumes driven by stronger demand from the tire
industry.

Polyester fiber output has been on the rise. Last year’s production advanced 8.4 percent to
27.7 million metric tons. All segments — textile and industrial yarns, as well as staple fibers —
have made a contribution to this growth. While staple fiber grew 7.9 percent to 11.7 million metric
tons, filament rose 8.8 percent to 16.0 million metric tons. The industry has again witnessed
soaring production in Asia, mainly in China, India and Vietnam. Meanwhile, the contribution from
Greater Europe and the Americas declined by about 7 percent.

Polyamide production slightly rose 2.4 percent to 4.1 million metric tons. While all
filament end-uses are believed to have increased, the output of staple fibers has continued its
long-term declining trend. Similar to the development of polyester fibers, the western countries
have further suffered from declining production by about 2 percent. Contrary to this, China, India,
Taiwan and Thailand seem to have increased their production by 11 percent on a consolidated basis.

p57

Polypropylene fibers rose by 2.5 percent to 3.1 million metric tons. While the
production of staple fibers was almost about the same with slightly higher utilization rates of
existing equipment, filament end-uses increased by 5.5 percent. Carpet yarn mainly drove this
growth as a consequence of active operations in the United States, Turkey and the Middle East.

Acrylic fibers further declined by 3 percent to 2.5 million metric tons. The share in output
volume of Asia and Greater Europe remained unchanged at 59 percent and 34 percent, respectively.
However, some significant changes have occurred. While the industries in China, Taiwan and Thailand
are believed to have witnessed increases, acrylic fiber production activity in India, Japan and
South Korea has declined. In Greater Europe, the performance was mainly driven by the strong
Turkish industry, while Western Europe declined by 4.9 percent and Eastern Europe remained
stagnant. Contribution from the Americas fell to a 5-percent share, resulting from the closure of
Solutia’s acrylic operation in the United States in April 2005 and suspended production at Cydsa’s
90,000-metric-ton plant in Mexico at the end of 2005. After Sarsol in South Africa closed its
manufacturing facility in 2002, there was no producer domiciled in Africa. This situation has
changed as Alexandria Fiber Co. has started a new 18,000-metric-ton acrylic fiber plant in Egypt.

p58

 Cellulosic fibers have confirmed their long-term trend with increasing
output of staple fibers and declining production of filaments. The total production volume has gone
up by 5.9 percent to 3.4 million metric tons. The dynamic development of viscose fibers has clearly
led the industry — they managed to rise by 9.3 percent to 2.3 million metric tons. Little change
was seen in acetate tow. While the entire textile filament yarn business further declined, the
small-scale industrial filament segment enjoyed higher volumes driven by stronger demand from the
tire industry.



May/June 2007
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