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Statistics: fibre consumption for technical textiles in Japan, 3rd quarter 2007
published in Issue 70, 3rd quarter 2007
Fibre output in Japan fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2006. Production of filament yarn fell by 2.3%, while that of staple fibres decreased by 3.9%. Declines were recorded in almost all fibre types, with the exceptions of “other synthetics” in the case of staple fibres and polypropylene in terms of filament yarn.
Asian man-made fibre prices increased significantly during 2006 and in the first ten months of 2007. Between January 2006 and October 2007, the price of polyester staple fibre rose by over a quarter, while the price of acrylic staple fibre was up by 32%. The price of nylon filament yarn, however, remained stable at US$3.10 per kg.
Japan’s fibre plants are being poorly utilised. Capacity utilisation fell in 2006 despite a drop in capacity itself. In fact, between 1988 and 2006 synthetic fibre production fell by 24.4% whereas capacity fell by a lesser 11.6%. In the case of cellulosic fibres, capacity fell by a much steeper 54.0%, but output fell by 55.3%.
Mill consumption levels have also been deteriorating in recent years. Indeed, levels rose only once between 1997 and 2006, and in 2004 they fell to below 1 mn tons. That said, industrial fibre consumption rose in 2006—by 2.9%, to 314,900 tons. Of this total 84% was produced domestically. Overall fibre usage for tyre reinforcement also increased in 2006, to almost 350,000 tons, although a large proportion of this was consumption of steel.
In the production of technical textiles, nonwoven fabric production rose for the third consecutive year to a record high of 330,000 tons, but output of industrial textile goods continued to falter—having fallen for the third successive year. Spunbonded fabric output also fell in 2006 but, at 87,100 tons, production was still the second highest on record.
Technical textile production is unlikely to increase significantly in the near future, as the industry faces growing competition from low cost Asian producers—notably China. Moreover, these problems are expected to become increasingly acute in the coming years as the production of vehicles and automotive components increases in China. The one possible growth area for Japanese producers will be nonwoven fabric production. Growth was witnessed in most end uses, including industrial applications, while drops were only seen in the agriculture and clothing sectors.
Table of Contents
Statistics: Fibre Consumption for Technical Textiles in Japan
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