At a press conference by the man made fiber industry association for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, IVC, Frankfurt presented the global development of textile fiber.
In 2012 the global demand for fibers reached another record of 85.8 million tons, reflecting an improvement by 4.5% over 2011 and an average per capita consumption of 12.2 kg (+3.4%) of textile materials for apparels, home textiles, carpets and technical textiles. This was mainly attributable to historic highs in man-made fiber production: For the first time, the output of synthetic man-made fibers exceeded the mark of 50 million tons. The output of cellulosic man-made fibers was above 5 million tons, which was a first in their 100-year. The segment of man-made fibers saw an encouraging increase in global demand by 6.0% to 56.0 million tons, with the demand for synthetic man-made fibers alone climbing by 5.6% to 50.8 million tons. More concretely, polyester fibers further strengthened their dominant position. Both polyamide and polypropylene fibers improved slightly too, whilst production drops were recorded for acrylic fibers. The segment of cellulosic man-man fibers was even more dynamic: with a total production volume of precisely 5.2 tons, there was an output increase by 10.2% in 2012. Thus the breathtaking developments for cellulosic man-made fibers lasted continuously since 2001.
Cotton is the most important natural fiber. In the current season, the consumption went up by 2.2% to 23.3 million tons. But due to falling cotton production, the cultivation areas were reduced worldwide – resulting in a decline in production by ca. 5%.
Development trends – Further growth and rising prices
Both a further increase in the demand for textiles and progressing structural change in the textile market – to the benefit of man-made fibers – are expected for the present year 2013. Growth drivers include factors like a growing population and more prosperity as well as shorter fashion cycles, innovative materials and new product applications. For example, populous regions like Asia and Latin America are likely to invest more in clothing as a basic need. Together with their advancing industrialization, their demand for technical textiles will go up too. At the same time, hygiene standards are improving globally, which comes with another rise in the demand for nonwovens for hygiene applications.
The demand level should remain high in the coming years for synthetic and cellulosic manmadefibers. By contrast, the growth potential will be limited for cotton due to an intensifyingcompetition with food production for farmland. This is anticipated to make cotton moreexpensive, with further positive effects for the man-made fiber sector. Already now, forecasts for the next cotton season emphasize this impression – with a lasting drop in cotton production on the one hand and a globally rising demand on the other. However, a long-term increase in oil prices would render synthetic man-made fibers more costly too. Both of the described “price scenarios” apply only to a limited extent for cellulosic man-made fibers. The renewable resources for their production are cultivated almost exclusively on marginal land.
Against this backdrop, cellulosic fibers are predicted to become even more important in the world textile market.