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Another quarterly high for fiber shipments.

Another Quarterly High For Fiber Shipments

Shipments of polyester, olefin and rayon staple to nonwovens roll goods producers set a new quarterly record in the April-June period of this year. At 147 million pounds, the total this year was six million pounds (4%) higher than in the first quarter and eight million pounds (6%) above sales in the corresponding quarter of 1988.

For the first six months this year sales of staple to nonwovens producers totaled 288 million pounds, eight million pounds, or 3%, greater than the quantity shipped in the first half of 1988. Even allowing for some slackening off in the second half of the year, it seems likely that 1989 will see a new high for staple shipments to nonwovens. A figure in the area of 565 million pounds for the full year seems likely at this point. Such a figure would surpass the 1988 record high of 547 million pounds by 3%.

PET continues to lead the way, with shipments of 72 million pounds in the latest period exceeding the first quarter figure by four million pounds (6%) and the corresponding 1988 quarter by no less than 16 million pounds, or 29%. PET's share of the market in the last quarter rose one point to 49%; a year ago PET had only 40% of the business.

Olefin staple shipments in the second quarter this year were 47 million pounds, up one million pounds, or 2%, from the first quarter and unchanged from the second quarter of last year. Olefin's share of the total in the latest period dropped to 32% from 33% in the immediately preceding three months. A year ago, olefin had 34% of the business.

Rayon staple shipments in April-June 1989 were 28 million pounds, up one million pounds from the previous quarter but eight million pounds (22%) under the quantity shipped in the second quarter 1988. Rayon's share of the market remained at 19%; a year ago rayon had 26% of the business.

It seems likely that, for the next few quarters, rayon staple shipments to all customers will be constrained by a shortage of staple producing capacity. The closing of the Front Royal VA rayon staple plant of Avtex Fibers, announced in early September eliminated perhaps 30% of U.S. rayon staple capacity at a time when rayon staple was already in tight supply not only in the U.S. but in most other countries as well.

So far this year, nonwovens have accounted for 19% of all shipments of the three synthetic fibers, this figure being unchanged from the corresponding months of 1988. Olefin staple continues as the fiber most dependent upon nonwovens for business - in the first half exactly 50% of olefin staple shipped went to nonwovens producers. In the case of rayon staple, nonwovens accounted for 29% of sales in the latest period, down from 35% a year earlier, PET, with its large and broadly diversified markets, has always been the least dependent of the three fibers on nonwovens business. Even so, because of PET's strong performance in nonwovens so far this year, the proportion of PET going to nonwovens rose to 12% from 10% a year ago.

Turning to polyester fiberfill, shipments in the second quarter were 94 million pounds, up four million pounds from the first quarter and nine million pounds (11%) better than the second quarter of last year. For the first half, fiberfill sales have aggregated 184 million pounds compared with 170 million pounds in the corresponding six months of 1988. Barring a sharp drop in the second half of the year, polyester fiberfill seems headed for another record year.
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Title Annotation:Fibers Quarter; nonwovens
Author:Harrison, David
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Dec 1, 1989
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