Technical textile production in Japan continued to increase in 2011 after growing substantially in the previous year, according to a report in the latest issue of Technical Textile Markets from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence.
Total output was up by 3.1 percent in 2011 following an 18.7 percent jump in 2010, which came after nine consecutive years of decline. However, the jump in 2010 represented more of a correction than a recovery, having come after a 22.0 percent plunge in 2009 at the height of the global economic crisis. In the eight years prior to 2009 there had been an average decline of 5.2 percent per annum.
A large part of the rise in manmade fiber production in 2011 was due to an increase in demand for materials for reconstruction following the earthquake and tsunami which hit northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. The companies that stand to benefit the most from the increase in demand are those producing materials that are suitable for use in construction and civil engineering projects.
Nevertheless, the rise in demand is unlikely to be sustainable over the medium to long term. Japanese companies will face growing competition from low-cost producers of basic items, especially those based in China. Further restructuring will occur in the industry as companies continue to relocate their operations to low-cost countries, and this situation will become increasingly acute as vehicle and automotive component production rises rapidly in China.
As a result, volumes are expected to fall in the coming years and, although values could be maintained in the manufacture of some high-performance industrial textiles, the overall trend will continue to be downwards.