Overall shipments of textile machinery fell in 2014. While short-staple and draw-texturing spindles saw a decline, flat-knitting machines saw more shipments. Though most segments saw declines - from the marginal to the considerable, the outlook in the industry is better this year, says Subir Ghosh.


Shipments in most of the textile machinery segments experienced worldwide declines last year. The deliveries of new short staple spindles dropped 15 per cent from 2013 to 2014. Shipped long-staple spindles and open-end rotors increased by 70 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively, and the number of shipped draw-texturing spindles grew by around 12 per cent. Shipments of both shuttle less looms and new large circular knitting machines also fell by 14 per cent and 22 per cent year-on year. The only segment where shipments rose considerably was in the case of flat-knitting machines: 31 per cent.


These indicators have been revealed in the latest edition of the International Textile Machinery Shipment Statistics (ITMSS) that was published by the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) in May this year. Volume 37/2014 of the ITMSS represents the 41st year of the statistical series that was launched in 1974 (then called the International Cotton Industry Statistics Supplement). This year's report covers six segments of textile machinery: spinning, draw-texturing, weaving, large circular knitting, flat knitting, and finishing machinery. The 2014 survey was compiled in cooperation with some 110 textile machinery manufacturers over 112 in 2013, representing a comprehensive measure of global production. According to the ITMF, the term "shipment" refers only to machinery produced by the participating manufacturers (for both the domestic market and for exports) which were physically shipped during the year under review. To clarify: this does not indicate either sales or installations. Broadly speaking, the overall decline in the shipment of new machinery is being seen as inevitable fallout of the slump in the global economy. According to the World Economic Outlook 2015 released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in April, global growth in 2014 was a modest 3.4 per cent, with a pick-up in growth in advanced economies relative to the previous year, and a perceptible slowdown in emerging markets and developing economies. However, despite the unwelcome slowdown, emerging markets and developing economies still accounted for three-fourths of global growth in 2014. There were a number of factors which have resulted in the slow growth: medium- and long-term trends, such as population aging and declining potential growth; global shocks, such as lower oil prices; and many country- or region-specific factors, such as crisis legacies and exchange rate swings triggered by actual and expected changes in monetary policies. To read more into the global textile machinery shipment trends, it is important to see it in the backdrop of the overall global economic scenario.


The IMF projects global growth to hover around 3.5 per cent and 3.8 per cent in 2015 and 2016. This is much more optimistic than the 2.8 per cent growth that the World Bank expects this year, and 3.2 per cent the next. The World Bank figures were published in the 2015 Global Economic Prospects report released in June this year. Developing countries face a series of tough challenges in 2015, including the looming prospect of higher borrowing costs in a new era of low prices for oil and other key commodities. This will result in a fourth consecutive year of disappointing economic growth this year.