David Allan, Nonwoven Markets Editor at RISI Inc. foresaw the demand for spunbond PP fabrics growing by 2-4% per annum over the next 5 years. Demand for use in diapers would be flat in tonnes, but increase slightly in area. Inco and medical uses would grow about 5%. The slight over-capacity would be tamed, with less new capacity coming on stream and older lines failing to compete in diapers. The market should be in balance by 2016. Other figures of interest:
- · Global nonwoven production would hit 10 million tpa by 2016. 3.6 million of this would be spunmelt PP.
- · North American demand would reach 1.8 million tonnes by 2016, 600,000 tonnes being SMPP.
- · About 80% of the SMPP use has been in disposables and of this about 65% has been used in diapers and pull-ups.
- · Within the coverstock category, 26% is topsheet, 21% is leg-cuff, 31% is backsheet and the other 23% is mainly core-wrap.
- · US Birth-rate is recovering from the recession low of 3.95 million and will reach 4.37 million in 2020.
- · Nonwovens R&D spend in 2012 focused mainly on “improvements” (42%) and “new benefits” (28.5%)
- · US production capacity would increase by ~100,000 tonnes from the 4 new lines now scheduled.
- · PP resin costs have been on a slight upward trend since 2009 and 14gsm spunbond prices have been roughly level. The NW producers are being gently squeezed in the diminishing gap.
- · Future demand growth would be driven by the incontinence market.