4th quarter 2008
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Statistics: fibre consumption for technical textiles in Japan, 4th quarter 2008
published in Issue 75, 4th quarter 2008
Fibre output in Japan fell in 2008 for the eighth consecutive year. Furthermore, the decline, at 10.2%, represented a sharp acceleration compared with previous falls. Production of filament yarn fell by 4.9%, while that of staple fibres decreased by a substantial 14.4%. The fall in filament yarn production reflected declines in all the main fibre types. In the case of staple fibres, the only increases were in polypropylene and cellulosic fibre.
Japan’s fibre plants are being poorly utilised. In particular, capacity utilisation in synthetics fell to below 60% in 2008 as output declined by as much as 13%. On the other hand, the utilisation rate for cellulosics improved for the second consecutive year. This was despite an increase in capacity and was due to a 7.0% rise in production.
Mill consumption levels have also been deteriorating in recent years. Although usage rose slightly in 2006 and 2007, the latest year for which data are available, it remained below 1 mn tons for the fourth year in succession. That said, fibre consumption for industrial uses rose by 3.7% in 2007 to a new peak of 326,400 tons. Of this total 84% was produced domestically. Fibre usage for tyre reinforcement, however, fell to 348,400 tons in 2007, and in 2008 it fell further to 340,000 tons. Furthermore, although a large proportion of the drop was in the consumption of steel fibres, there were also falls in usage of all three main fibre types—polyamide, polyester and rayon.
In the production of technical textiles, nonwoven fabric production rose for the fourth consecutive year in 2007, the latest year for which data are available, to a record high of 340,100 tons. There was also an increase in output of industrial textile goods. However, this followed seven years of general decline. Meanwhile, spunbonded fabric output fell for the second time in three years, having increased in each of the previous 11 years.
Technical textile production is unlikely to increase significantly in the near future as the industry faces growing competition from low cost producers in Asian countries—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. One potential growth area for Japanese producers, however, is nonwoven fabric production. In 2007 there were increases in output of nonwovens for most end uses, including industrial applications, household goods and medical goods.
- Statistics: Fibre Consumption for Technical Textiles in Japan
- Fibre Production, Prices and Consumption
- Fibre Consumption for Technical Applications
- Production of Technical Textiles
- Future Prospects