Textile and clothing import volumes affected
U.S. and E.U. textile and clothing import prices rose sharply in 2011 reflecting hikes in raw material prices, according to Issue No. 155 of Textile Outlook International from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence.
Between March 2009 and March 2011 the average cotton price rose by 346 percent while the global price index for synthetics—acrylic, nylon, polyester and polypropylene fibres—rose by 71 percent. Since then, prices have declined, but in January 2012 they were still well above the levels seen in March 2009.
In response, suppliers of textiles and clothing to the E.U. raised their prices by an average of 9.2 percent in 2011. The effect was to almost snuff out the recovery in the market since 2009’s recession.
In 2011, the average price of U.S. textile and clothing imports rose by 12.2 percent to $1.89 per sme—its highest level since 2001.
E.U. imports rose marginally in volume terms, but there was a significant reversal in the U.S. as imports fell in volume by 3.2 percent after growing by 19.0 percent in the previous year.
The average price of E.U. textile and clothing exports also rose significantly during the year, up by as much as 13.7 percent.
Interest in substitute fibres was already apparent in U.S. imports in 2011. The increase in the average import price was stronger in the case of cotton apparel than in apparel made from other fibres. Imports of cotton apparel fell by 10.2 percent as buyers were put off by higher prices. By contrast, imports of man-made fibre apparel rose by 14.9 percent.
One of the major topics of conversation at recent European yarn fairs was the high cost of raw materials, particularly cotton and wool. Indeed, spinners and fabric manufacturers were finding it difficult to give forward prices for their products because of the volatility of cotton prices, and this resulted in an increase in interest in linen and viscose.
As spinners await news of the 2011/12 cotton crop, the future of the raw cotton market remains uncertain. Price volatility may be something the fibre, textile and clothing industry will live with for the foreseeable future.
Textile Outlook International is published six times a year by Textiles Intelligence. Each issue provides an independent and worldwide perspective on the global fibre, textile and apparel industries.