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China dumps cotton, turns to polyester stockpiling

Polyester has become China's new stockpiling strategy as the country is gearing up for a future where cotton, with its potentially sizeable environmental footprint, will become increasingly scarce and could increase significantly in price.

China’s polyester filament capacity has been rising. It was up 17 per cent in 2013 with another 8 per cent rise expected in 2014. Recent years saw China stockpiling cotton in a move to protect Chinese farmers from world prices and volatility while also maintaining a supply of cotton to its own industry. However, the country is now reducing its stock piles, and these new figures for polyester suggest it sees manmade fibers as where the future lies.

China’s polyester capacity is easily outstripping global mill consumption. In 2013, it was 5 per cent above global mill consumption, and by 2015 it’s expected to be 12 per cent above. In nylon filament China’s capacity is growing more quickly than global mill consumption, being forecast to represent 70 per cent of world nylon filament demand within the next two years. 

In 2013, global polyester consumption was 6 per cent up on the previous year, a rate of increase that is also expected for 2014. 


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