Polyester is the most economical and quality fibre used in textiles. Polymer is obtained by polymerization of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and monoethylene glycol (MEG).This polymer is melt spun and filaments called tow are obtained in bundles. This tow undergoes further processes like drawing, crimping, spin finish application and is cut into fixed lengths to get fibres similar to cotton fibres. They are known as Polyester Staple Fibers (PSF).


PSF can be blended with natural fibers like cotton and wool, and synthetic fibres like rayon to manufacture polyester blended yarns. Fabrics made from this blended yarn are called blended spun yarn. It has the values of both natural fibres of high tenacity and easy caring nature of polyester fibres. Polyester has a high melting point and this gives good thermal stability to it.


Polyester dominates the Synthetic Fibres segment:


Polyester, nylon and acrylic are the most popularly used synthetic fibres. In this segment, polyester consumption dominates the scenario by 77 percent, followed by nylon with 12.9 percent, acrylic with 8.6 percent and other fibres making 1.5 percent. It can also be blended with other fibres effectively to enhance the look and durability of the fabric. It is blended with cotton for getting stain and wrinkle resistance. Blending with wool gives the fabric wrinkle resistance and retention of shape during any type of weather conditions. Mixing with rayon gives resilient and durable abilities to the fabric. Combination of polyester with nylon gives strength and abrasion resistance to the clothes.


Global Statistics:


Consumption of Polyester Staple Fibre during 2000-2006 witnessed an average annual increase of 5.3 percent. In 2006, it increased to 11.4 percent. An approximate growth rate of 6.3 percent for polyester market is expected for the coming years upto 2011. Global annual production of polyester is around 36 million tons. China is the major producer of polyester fabrics, and accounts to 55 percent of the global production. It is also a major consumer of the same. A report estimates that domestic polyester consumption of China would increase by 8.3 percent annually, and from 15.3 million tons in 2005 to 18.3 million tons in 2008.China is followed by other Asian countries of India, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan. In Western Europe, Japan, and U.S. polyester industry is undergoing a substantial decrease in both production and consumption. They are facing a tough competition from Asian countries, particularly China, and hence are looking for options to shift to other value-added-fibres.


Increasing cotton prices and declining consumption:


Over the past two years, global cotton consumption has fallen short of 15 million bales due to soaring prices. Reduced cotton production and higher prices led to a decline in the global cotton consumption. During 1994 98, global cotton consumption was 88 million bales. Increased prices in cotton will result in the textile mills looking for cheaper options. This will make PSF a good cotton substitute.


The blue line in the graph represents the global production of cotton. The pink line indicates global cotton consumption. Cotton production graph has a drastic, fluctuating nature. The period when total consumption is more and production is less is the period when cotton prices will be high. This is shown by a circle in the figure. This phase occurred previously during 2003 which gave way for polyester fibres to overtake the market. This gap in the demand supply scenario where cotton consumption is more than production, and lack of availability of good quality cotton may drive the cotton prices higher.