Local spinners tend towards manmade fibres

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In recent years, the spinners have joined global club of artificial fibre users with larger volume, posting a sharp growth in imports of manmade or chemical fibre (MMF)

Global fashion trend keeps changing every day, sending the clothing retailers to look for innovative ways to meet the demand of fashion-conscious people.

In keeping with this, Bangladeshi textile millers are moving towards large scale use of manmade fibre in their fabric blends in an attempt to grow further in the global apparel markets, especially in fancy and value-added products.

In recent years, the spinners have joined global club of artificial fibre users with larger volume, posting a sharp growth in imports of manmade or chemical fibre (MMF).  

According to Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), in last five year import of MMFs such as polyester staple, viscose and tencel has seen a 48% rise to 156,784 tons in 2019, which was 105,946 tons in 2015.

Import of viscose has seen the highest rise among the MMFs.  In 2019, Bangladesh imported 53,289 ton, up by 32.30%, which was 40,278 tons in the previous year.   

Import of tencel fibre saw a 17.67% rise to 7,418 tons in 2019, which was 6,304 tons in the previous year. 

However, import of polyester staple fibre registered negative growth by 6% to 96,077 tons in 2019, compared to 102,219 tons in the same period a year ago.    

The number of textile mills using manmade fibre also increased. As per the data, some 70 mills imported viscose staple fibre, 15 mills tencel fibre and 55 mills polyester fibre last year. 

Why use of MMFs on the rise

“Usually, selection of fabrics and yarn is done by the buyers. Due to change in fashion trend, the demand for manmade fibre has seen rise in recent times. So, spinning mills are gradually moving towards higher use manmade against cotton in their fabric blends to reduce cost,” Khorshed Alam, a former director of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, told Dhaka Tribune.

The import of artificial fibre increased in recent times to meet the demands of the buyers and thus grab more shares of the global market, said Alam, also owner of Little Star Spinning Mills, which imports viscose.

“Worldwide, the consumption of easy care apparel has risen. Therefore cotton is losing out, and increased use of non-cotton fibre or blended one is a good sign for Bangladesh,” BGMEA President Rubana Huq told Dhaka Tribune. 

Scope of growth for MMF

Industry people think as there is less scope to grow in cotton based products, they are going for products with the artificial fibres to grow further.

“Cotton-based growth in Bangladesh is already saturated and it is not possible to grow further here.  If Bangladesh wants to grow in the global apparel markets, it has to be through new products based on manmade fibre,” Sharif Zahir, a director of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told Dhaka Tribune.  

“In the given context, we have concentrated on new products made of viscose, manmade staple fibre and tencel fibre as the demand for these goods are increasing gradually,” said the business leader.

“If more work order shifts from China to Bangladesh, this would be from this segment,” said Sharif, also managing director of Ananta Denim Technology Ltd.

According to sector people, the ratio of the cotton-made yarn and the artificial one increased to 70:30, which was 90:10 even five years ago.

Meanwhile, the global ratio of cotton and man-made fibre use is 28:72.

The global polyester staple fibre market is expected to reach $39.3 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 6.3%, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc.

New investment needed

Bangladesh needs new investment in this area, where foreign direct investment can be a tool as it takes a big amount of money for establishing a large scale tech-based factory. 

“Since this segment of spinning needs a huge amount of money for establishing a textile mill, foreign direct investment could be great tool in this regards,” BTMA President Md Ali Khokon told Dhaka Tribune.