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N.C. shines in hearty nonwovens market

July 5th, 2016 / By: / Industry News

North Carolina shines amid a particularly robust North American nonwovens industry, with nine of 14 new manufacturing lines being sited there during the past year, it was revealed at the IDEA 2016 trade show in Boston.

Columnist Adrian Wilson, writing on the Innovation in Textiles website, says that with the exceptions of South America and the Middle East, nonwovens are enjoying a robust period globally.

During the show, it was also announced that a 10th line—part of a new $31.6 million plant—will shortly be opened in the state by a Chinese JV called Uniquetex, and, Berry Plastics—the world’s leading nonwovens manufacturer—is currently scouting for the location of a new U.S. expansion to serve the hygiene industry.

Wilson quotes Jacques Prigneaux, market analysis and economic affairs director at Belgium’s EDANA, as reporting production in greater Europe is also healthy, at just under 2.4 million tons in 2015 and representing 24 percent of global output. And Paul Cheng of the Asian Nonwoven Fabrics Association in Osaka, Japan, said 4.2 million tons of product was made in the region last year, with China accounting for 2.9 million tons—up from 1.3 million tons in 2008.

As far as the absorbent hygiene market is concerned, Wilson reports, Svetlana Uduslivaia of Euromonitor asserted global retail sales for this sector—diapers, “femcare” items and adult incontinence products—are now worth an annual $90 billion. Growth in Asia Pacific is an annual 8 percent, and China’s domestic market alone will be worth $38 billion in 2020.

There are disappointing reports for Brazil, which David Katsnelson, senior economist at Bedford, Mass.-based forest-products analyst RISI, said showed no indication of an upturn. Previous growth projections for nonwovens in the region look highly unlikely, added consultant Rick Jezzi, but in the longer term there is still the potential for many markets to more than double in size.

Depressed oil prices in the Middle East and North Arica region (MENA) continue to adversely affect markets for construction materials and geotextiles. The demand for these materials is expected to decline by 4.6 percent in 2016 due to reductions in government spending on infrastructure, most notably in Saudi Arabia, observed David Price of Price Hanna Consultants of West Chester, Pa.

MENA nonwovens production represents just 4 percent of the global total, and as such, it and Brazil’s problems are just minor dark spots in what is overall a very healthy industry in 2016.