The Fiber Year 2019
World economy started 2018 on an upbeat note driven by growth in manufacturing and trade
through 2017 but the optimistic mood gave way to economic activities tending toward downswing
from midyear. International Monetary Fund downwardly revised its 2018 projections for most
advanced economies including significantly lower growth expectations for 2019.
Tariffs have contributed to the momentum losing steam after U.S. administration first began imposing tariffs on Chinese imports last July followed by retaliatory measures taken by PR China. The implementation of tariffs has meant uncertainty on trade and future market access, which weighs on investment decisions. It seems that protectionism is on its way back in some parts of the world given the latest decision of U.S. administration from May to increase tariffs on USD200 billion Chinese imports from 10% to 25%.
Despite these measures, the U.S. economy rose at fastest pace in three years at 2.9% stimulated by tax cuts and spending increases. The U.S. dollar has appreciated against most other currencies as growth and interest rates have outperformed those in advanced economies. The world‘s third-largest cotton grower and manmade fiber manufacturer recorded declines in local fiber supply, ongoing contractions in textile and apparel employment in the 24th consecutive year and second-highest trade deficit in textile and clothing in U.S. history at USD88 billion.
The worsening economic climate has taken its toll on fiber production that has experienced the slowest growth in three years at 1% to almost 106 million tonnes. Natural fibers softened nearly 2% as result of lower cotton cultivation and the manmade fiber business continued its ten-year expansion. Growth of 2% at synthetic fibers was once again outpaced by cellulosic fibers lifting output by almost 3%.
Global activity in spun yarn and filament manufacturing has decelerated likewise to 1% with the filament production growth remaining in positive territory since financial crisis. Dynamics in nonwovens and unspun applications experienced faster expansion than yarns in the fifth consecutive year at 4%.