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Global textile sector to run short of fiber – Report
Feb '11
The decreasing supply of raw materials is a serious and challenging trend in the light of the global economy agenda. The oil peak in 2006 alongside the declining reserves of metals, basic chemical materials and other raw materials represent indeed a great threat to the world future economic scenario.

A similar phenomenon is becoming evident in the textile industry. On today's estimation, the production of Man Made Synthetic Fibers (MMSF) and Man Made Cellulose Fibers (MMCF) and Natural Fibers will not be able to meet the global fiber demand for the years to come. Moreover cotton production is currently strained due to a wealth of factors.

An increase of the world population and global GDP, a growing fiber demand per capita and the stagnation or reduction of arable lands and water scarcity are all important factors that will affect the future availability of cotton.

In 20 years for example, food production will be 40% higher compared to today. Thus, a significant change in land use towards food crops will progressively take place at the expense of cotton cultivation. This estimated lack of cotton to cover this increasing demand is called the Cotton Gap.

The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), a World leading association of Governments of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries has already drawn attention to the issue of future reduced availability of cotton.

Furthermore, at currently estimated growth rates, the increasing capacities in MMSF and MMCF production cannot fully cope with the anticipated tension on cotton availability. The following key issue remains: How to fill in the Cotton Gap?

One of the key assumptions supporting this Fiber Gap is a world growth demand on textile fibers of CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) 3% for the next two decades.

Under this projection, first analysis estimates that there is already today a “lack” of MMCF (also called Cellulose Gap) of 500,000 tons which could reach eventually approximately 11 million tons in 2030, or 8% of the total need of fibers being around 140 million tons.

On the basis of existing projections and current investments, MMCF will cover only a portion of the expected 22 million tons Cotton Gap by 2030. At the same time, Gherzi is also of the opinion that MMF will only partially substitute for cotton applications specifically requesting the performance associated with the properties of cotton.

In summary and by 2030, the Cellulose Gap could be around 11 million tons in the most likely estimated scenario offering great opportunities for MMCF and MMSF producers.

Gherzi Textil Organisation AG

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