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Nonwovens fiber shipments on the rebound.

Nonwovens Fiber Shipments On The Rebound

a strong second quarter indicates that staple shipments to nonwovens producers will regain their annual increase after a fall-off in 1990; PET fiberfill is on a record pace for the year

Shipments of olefin, polyester (PET) and rayon staple to nonwovens roll goods producers in the second quarter this year reached 144 million pounds, up seven million pounds, or 5%, from the previous quarter and 3% above the figure for the corresponding quarter of last year.

For the first six months of the year, shipments amounted to 281 million pounds, compared with 265 million pounds in the January-June 1990 period. This represents a solid 6% improvement and compares with an 8% decline in the conventional markets (excluding fiberfill) for the three fibers.

In general, the second quarter showed a marked improvement in business over the first quarter in both nonwovens and conventional markets for the fibers.

Too Early To Speculate

It is as yet a little early to speculate on how the entire year will shape up for nonwovens, but at this juncture a total for the year in the range of 550-560 million pounds seems quite reachable. Such a figure would make 1991 the second best year ever for staple-based nonwovens; the 1989 figure of 565 million pounds was the all-time high. It would also restore the pattern of year-to-year increases that was broken by the relatively poor results for 1990.

Comparing the first six months with January-June 1990, the entire 16 million pound increase this year was due to olefin, which in the period boosted its share of the market to 46%, up from 43% a year earlier. In the two competitive fibers, a slight increase in PET sales was offset by a similar decline in the estimated use of rayon staple. PET now has 41% of the market, down from 43% a year ago.

Rayon's share has now dropped to 13%, but if imports are counted rayon has a larger share. Approximately one-third of the significant imports of rayon staple are believed to go into nonwoven applications. In the first half of 1991, approximately 16 million pounds of imported rayon were probably used by nonwovens roll goods producers, which would bring total rayon use to about 52 million pounds and raise its market share to 16%.

It was mentioned already that the conventional markets dropped 8% in the first six months this year. On a percentage basis, rayon was the most seriously affected, with sales to the conventional textile markets dropping 22%. The PET declines were about equally divided between broad woven goods (down 21 million pounds) and knit fabric users (off 20 million). For olefin, uses outside of nonwovens declined by 5% in the first half of this year, mostly due to a marked decrease in sales to the carpet industry.

In the first half of 1991, the nonwovens industry accounted for 21% of domestic shipments of the three fibers, compared with 19% a year ago. As a result of poor business in other markets, all three fibers saw their dependence upon nonwovens increase in the first six months.

Olefin, which has always been most dependent on nonwovens, did 63% of its business in the nonwovens trade in the first half of 1991, compared with 58% a year earlier. PET, the least dependent of the three fibers, saw its dependence on nonwovens increase from 11% to 13% this year. Some 29% of rayon sales went to nonwovens customers, compared with 25% a year earlier.

Polyester Fiberfill Results

Polyester fiberfill shipments in the second quarter hit a new record of 108 million pounds, which brought its six month figure to 204 million pounds, an increase of 12% (22 million pounds) over the corresponding period of last year. For the full year 1991, a shipment figure of 390-400 million pounds seems likely, which would make 1991 a record year for fiberfill.
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Title Annotation:Fibers Quarter; second quarter 1991
Author:Harrison, David
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Dec 1, 1991
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