However, the fibre-fill and wadding manufacturers remain very active with demand for their products in the soft furnishing, apparel and upholstery sector are holding up reasonably well fuelled by the continuing cold weather creating a situation whereby they are enjoying a third season this winter, which inevitably will give more opportunity in the late spring to make stock for the autumn and next year.
The automotive padding business had a limited recovery as the increased demand for luxury cars put life into the global motorcar manufacturers. But with the current major problems at Toyota taking centre stage it is now becoming obvious that the whole thing stimulated a short-lived flash of prosperity and the spokespeople for that industry are now proclaiming a return to a new recession.
Reports of January being the worst month on the high street since records began 15 years ago, include rumblings from the charity shop sector of reductions in the input of saleable inventory as well as a notable decline during the month of sales. But the exporting conglomerates remained active collecting in the white vans at the same time as holding their prices at reasonable levels.
Conventional export outlets continued to be of good character with many traders returning to their European based offices with good order books well into the second quarter of this year.
The continuing rise in Brent Crude oil prices has not yet affected demand by the re-extruding polymer producers, which remain active looking for clean polyester and polyamide from textile industrial weaving and knitting sources. Values remained firm in this area from both domestic and operations abroad. Fibre and rag collections at source were keenly sort after by the trade, are finding their usual export outlets displaying a reasonable character.
The Textile Recycling Association view:
Textiles have had a traditionally slow start to the year. Warehouses are either full or sufficient for sorters to manage. Collections have settled down after the normal post Christmas catch up but quality concerns remain. Many collectors report that charity shop collections quality remains variable and there still remains the burden to collect lower margin products like books and cds.
Market prices are a cause for great concern in the industry at the moment. Many believe prices peaked last year and have already started falling by as much as 10%. Textile recyclers are now expecting prices to fall by a further 10% this month. This should feed through to textile bank and school collections later in the year. Some sorters are now playing a waiting game and deferring decisions to buy material until the price comes down.
Money is slow coming out of africa and this is putting further pressure on sorters. Unsorted markets have also hardened as eastern europeans have been hit by recession and bad weather. UK goods are seeing competition from lower grade and lower price German and Scandanavian goods. Uk collecting and sorting companies are now focussing on value rather than volume.
For the first time in many years textile recyclers are now ready to turn away business if the value isn’t there.