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Wool/nylon mix delivers soft luxurious feel to carpets
26
Jan '08
Wool 30 microns and above competes with a range of other fibres and materials (such as solid wood and laminates) in its various end uses. Major competing fibres are synthetics (with nylon and polypropylene dominating).

In carpets, wool's share is small and usage is mostly in blends. Probably the most widely recognized blend is the 80/20 wool/nylon mix which delivers a carpet with the soft luxurious feel of wool with the added abrasive quality of nylon.

Because wool's share of carpet production accounts for a very small amount of fibre usage in the US - the world's biggest carpet market - broad wool faces intense price competition from alternative fibres.

An analysis of the nylon value chain shows that cheap competing fibre prices have kept carpet wool prices suppressed until recently, despite recent strong increases in underlying crude oil prices.

Nevertheless, oil prices were such that nylon fibre manufacturers forced through price rises in October and November in the US.

It is expected that oil prices may soften after the northern winter (when global seasonal demand is highest for heating) and that this will reduce pressure on synthetic fibre prices. The increased competition will likely see carpet wool prices once more under pressure over the next 12 months.

Australian Wool Innovation Limited

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