Special Textiles: The Global Influence of Asian Markets

–––– 2012 Global Special Textiles Industry Trend Forecasting and Analysis Jeff Rasmussen, Market Research Manager, International Industrial Textiles Association The road to economic recovery in the US in 2011 remains difficult but will improve in 2012. A change will stimulate the increase in demand for the US special textile industry. In addition, the US economy will still face many challenges in 2012. Although the European debt crisis will not drag the global economy into recession, market confidence is still relatively weak. At the same time, China is also seeking new measures to support economic growth.

Global specialty textiles expected to grow by 4% in 2012

In 2010, due to improved economic conditions around the world, the global specialty textiles market grew by approximately 2.5% to 3% in that year. In 2011, due to the growth of global GDP, the global specialty textile market grew by about 2.5% to 4% this year. It is expected that the global specialty textile market will grow by 4% in 2012.

According to the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index, global consumers are still more concerned about the labor market, personal finances, credit crunch, and whether they have the ability to buy what they want or need, with exceptions in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Nevertheless, the sluggish economic figures, inflation in Asia, the strengthening of the debt crisis in Europe, and the political instability in the Middle East, coupled with increased spending by American families, have seriously hurt consumer confidence in the market.

The overall business and sales environment improved in 2011 In the United States in 2011, due to the participation of many industry participants, the overall business and sales environment for the year improved. In addition, in this year, even manufacturers who work in the traditional market will earn more than they did in 2010. This growth is particularly evident in the ship market, which in 2011 not only bounced back from a 7% drop in 2010 but also increased by about 4%.

Residential and non-residential buildings in the United States fell by approximately 2.0% and 2.8% respectively in 2011. This decline has inhibited sales growth of awnings, fabrics used in buildings, and geosynthetics.

The American Real Estate Firm Reshaping Market Index Association stated that consumers are still cautious about building reconstruction. Although the homeowner may be interested in the reconstruction work (such as rebuilding the awnings), he only stays on the basis of interest, and he still takes a wait and wait-and-see attitude toward the reconstruction work.

In 2011, sales of the US special textile industry increased by approximately 1.5%. It is expected that sales of highly processed products (including special textiles) in the United States from 2012 to 2013 will increase by 2% to 3% per year over 2011.

Many industry participants have been working hard for the past few years. Now these efforts have led to a significant improvement in the sales and profitability of specialty textiles in 2011. All this cannot be separated from their efforts to transform their business to meet today's challenges.

Difficulties Underlying the U.S. Economic Recovery Signs While the credit crunch has improved slightly in 2011, the credit market is still in a state of tension. In November 2011, the American Institute of Architects reported that many companies in the United States had long-standing lack of support in 2011. In the United States, 20% of stagnant projects have already provided loans to some large banks, and credit conditions for small businesses have gradually improved in 2011. The months that have come to an end have improved, but small and regional banks are still hard to obtain.

High unemployment rate The average unemployment rate in the United States in 2011 was about 9%, which was a significant improvement from the 9.6% in 2010. The U.S. Federal Reserve Bureau predicts that the number of U.S. unemployed will improve in 2012 and is expected to be between 8.2% and 8.5%.

High raw material costs High oil prices increase the cost of raw materials. It is expected that the price of oil will remain unchanged in 2012 (an average of $100 per barrel). Gasoline prices have affected some special textile markets.

Import and Price Pressure Since November 2011, the import volume of American specialty textiles has fallen by 3%. The import of most Asian specialty textiles has adversely affected the sales and profitability of US specialty textiles, especially the traditional specialty textile markets such as tents, awnings, graphic fabrics and tarpaulins. In addition, high-end markets will also be adversely affected.

Despite the difficulties, the U.S. economy still showed signs of obvious recovery. In the first half of 2011, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) began to grow at an extremely slow rate to 0.85%. In the second half of the year, the growth rate accelerated and the GDP reached 2.3%. This growth led to a GDP of 1.7% at the end of 2011. The unemployment rate and GDP growth are expected to improve gradually. The U.S. Federal Reserve Board believes that in the next three to four years, employment issues and price stability are two very necessary issues to be resolved.

The key factors influencing the U.S. special textile industry include the safety and protective textiles used by troops, firefighters and law enforcement personnel in the military military. The military impact of safety and protective textiles will continue until 2012. Although textile and apparel consumption fell by 10% in 2011, the US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) stated that consumption of textiles and apparel by the US team is still significant in 2012.

Geosynthetics used in the construction industry in the United States increase by approximately 5% to 6% annually. However, in 2011, geosynthetics used in construction fell by 3 to 5 percentage points, and it is expected that it will continue to fall by 2 to 3 percentage points in 2012. About 50 companies in the US market produce geosynthetics, including geotextiles and geogrids that control soil erosion, and are used to build roads and other infrastructure.

If the transportation industry is calculated in U.S. dollars, it is easy to see that the most important factor affecting specialty textiles is the transportation-car and light car market. In 2010, sales of light vehicles reached 116,000; in 2011, sales of light vehicles were approximately 127,000 vehicles. This market looks like a major source of growth for the US specialty textile industry. Each new light vehicle uses an average of 28 square meters of specialty textiles.

The entertainment entertainment market includes awnings and marine fabrics. One of the key issues in economic growth is the restoration of markets, where awning renewal in commercial buildings is cheaper than replacement. One of the main reasons for slowing the growth of the US awning and canopy market in the United States and Canada in 2011 was the tepid sales of homes. It is expected that this situation will continue for three years.

In 2011, the marine textiles market in the United States and Canada improved markedly, and the market for high-end ships rose by approximately 4% to 5%, partly due to the refurbishment and upgrading of existing ships. The sales of OEM (original equipment manufacturers) market for the first time in the five-year period only increased by 1% to 2%, but the ship manufacturers said they believe that sales in 2011 have changed better than in previous years.

China occupies 51.7% of US special textiles imports

China holds a 51.7% share of the US special textiles import market and is in a leading position. In 2011, special textiles imported into the United States fell by about 3%, much lower than in 2010. In 2010, special textiles imported to the United States increased by 21% compared with the previous year. In addition, India, Pakistan, Mexico, South Korea, Canada, Vietnam and other countries joined the second tier of the US special textiles import market in 2011.

Mexico is one of the countries that export specialty textiles from the United States. In 2011, Mexico’s market share fell by 37%, accounting for a decline in 2010, a total of 39%; Canada ranked second, a total decrease of 18%. Hong Kong, China holds a 5.4 percent share, and US specialty textiles grew by 8 percent during the year.

The regions with the fastest growth in consumption are mainly concentrated in Asia in 2011. The regions with the fastest growth in the consumption of specialty textiles are mainly concentrated in Asia, and the specialty textiles in the Asian market account for 45% of the world market.

The Chinese market will continue to have advantages In the past 20 years, the consumption of Chinese specialty textiles has increased by about 10% annually. In early 2011, China’s specialty textiles grew in production, investment, sales, and foreign trade. However, raw materials, labor costs and interest rates have inhibited the further growth of SMEs. Due to the high raw material and labor costs, companies have had to slow sales and squeeze profit margins.

China's specialty textiles are mainly medium- and lower-grade products and intermediate materials, and high-tech products and value-added products still rely on imports.

China is planning to stimulate economic growth by focusing more on domestic consumption and reducing exports in the next five years. Compared to the United States and Europe, China’s low labor costs have the opportunity to serve the internal market for specialty textiles, and it is predicted that the Chinese specialty textile industry will continue to have advantages in the global market.

India facilitates European exporters India's specialty textiles and nonwovens industry is highly fragmented and is still in its infancy. Compared with the United States, Europe and China, India does not have advanced technology. Unlike the traditional textile industry, the import of specialty textiles is intensive, and India provides a very favorable market for export-oriented manufacturers in Europe and elsewhere.

In 2010, India’s share of the global specialty textiles market was around 9%, which is about the same as in 2011. Only about 33% of its 67% of the products used for export are high-end products.

India's textile industry (from apparel to specialty textile applications) has undergone major adjustments, and the Indian apparel market is now growing at twice the rate. The Indian government’s focus is on upgrading geosynthetic materials and increasing the use of automotive textiles (nonwovens).

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