Man-made fibres getting popular among garment makers of Bangladesh

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - Bangladesh imported 78,208 tonnes of polyester staple fibre in 2016, up 11.39 percent from 70,209 tonnes in 2015 and 35.72 percent from 51,729 tonnes in 2014.

The import of man-made fibres such as polyester staple, viscose, and tencel is on the rise as a substitute for cotton as their demand is increasing amid changes in global fashion trend.

Bangladesh imported 78,208 tonnes of polyester staple fibre in 2016, up 11.39 percent from 70,209 tonnes in 2015 and 35.72 percent from 51,729 tonnes in 2014, according to data from Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).

The import of viscose staple fibre was recorded at 29,146 tonnes in 2016, slightly down from 29,538 tonnes in 2015. From January to June of 2017, the volume was 16,063 tonnes, the data showed. In 2014, Bangladesh imported 18,115 tonnes of viscose staple fibre.

Imports of tencel, a fibre made of trees and leaves, stood at 5,034 tonnes in 2016 and 6,199 tonnes the previous year.

“The import of man-made fibre is increasing every year,” said Monsoor Ahmed, secretary of the BTMA.

Razeeb Haider, managing director of Outpace Spinning Mills Ltd, said the demand for any kind of yarn and fabrics depends on buyers' choice. Recently, the demand for man-made fibres has increased from the buyers' end. “So, there is a rise in import,” he said. According to the spinner, the durability and the longevity of artificial fibres are higher than cotton-made yarn and fabrics. “That's why the demand for man-made items is going up.”

If garments made from man-made fibres are not washed for many days their quality will not deteriorate or over-wash will not compromise the quality, Haider said.

Abdullah Al Mahmud Mahin, managing director of Hamid Fabrics Ltd, said with the rise of high-end smart fashion markets worldwide, the demand for man-made fibres is increasing.

The number of factories producing artificial fibres also went up. Alone the polyester fibre production units rose to 52 from 10 to 12 seven years ago. There are 45 viscose staple fibre mills and 10 tencel factories.

Globally, the ratio of man-made fibre has gone up compared to cotton fibre, although the latter is still the main item for spinners, Ahmed of the BTMA said.

The ratio of the cotton-made yarn and the artificial one rose to nearly 80:20, whereas it was 90:10 even five years ago.

The global ratio of cotton and man-made fibre use is 28:72, with the balance heavily tilting towards the artificial fabric, thanks to lower price, improved functionality, and ease of use, according to International Textile Manufacturers Federation.

Mahin said many Chinese and Taiwanese investors are interested to invest in man-made fibre production in Bangladesh. Almost all sportswear items are made from artificial fabrics.

In 2016-17, Bangladesh imported about 10 million tonnes of cotton to feed its vast garment sector.

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