The rise of MMF
Industry Desk: As demand for MMF-based apparel items keeps increasing in the global market, more and more textile mills in Bangladesh are investing in synthetic & blended yarns to support garment makers who look to move up the value chain by making MMF-based, value-added products to exploit the existing and upcoming opportunities. Here’s a lowdown on what’s the latest development in terms of synthetic and blended yarns.
Data from the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF), a Switzerland-based platform for global textile makers, underlined that of all garment items produced in the world, 78 per cent is made from man-made fibre while cotton fibre accounts for the rest even as for Bangladesh, the case is opposite to the global trend as of the total garment items made in Bangladesh, more than 74 per cent are from cotton with industry insiders claiming the use of cotton fibres instead of man-made ones for export-oriented garment items is one of the major reasons premium prices cannot be availed from global brands and retailers with the price chart indicating the value of ‘Made in Bangladesh’ garment items not increasing since the Rana Plaza tragedy.
“The price of garments has gradually been declining by buyers despite the recent increase in export orders…,” maintained BGMEA First Vice President Syed Nazrul Islam Chowdhury while addressing the association’s Standing Committee on Customs (Bond) and Customs (Sea) not so long ago even as Faruque Hassan, President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), also said the industry has been suffering from surging costs of production with the revival of business from the fallouts of COVID-19 even as he underlined that although the cost of production has increased by around 30 per cent, price per unit of garment items exported from Bangladesh has declined by 3.7 per cent over the past one year due to lower demand. He also maintained that, in many cases, the exporters have been doing business either with the hope of making a profit in the future or reducing other costs of production in different ways while underlining most suppliers have been surviving through exporting higher volumes of goods, rather than through better values.
Understandably so, more and more garment makers are now moving towards MMF-based apparel as they look to move up the value chain and make high-end, value-added products while basic items, which have been the staple of the Bangladesh garment industry so far, have started to lose their appeal, thanks to faltering profit margins.
Keeping with the changing trend, Bangladesh’s primary textile sector is now undergoing rapid changes as well with local millers taking to producing significant amounts of man-made fibres even as import of manmade fibres grew a substantial 45.72 per cent to reach 99,597 tonnes in the first five months (January to May) of this year – of the imports, about 61,693 tonnes were polyester staple fibre, 32,454 tonnes viscose staple fibre, and around 5,450 tonnes Tencel and flax fibre – compared to 68,348 tonnes during the corresponding period in 2020, according to the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) data.
Apparel exporters in Bangladesh need to shift their focus more towards value-added, high-end apparel items like technical apparel as their demand is high in the global market, said Faruque Hassan recently while addressing a discussion organised by the Bangladesh Apparel Youth Leaders Association even as he added demand for man-made fibre (MMF)-based garment items is on the rise in the global market, and Bangladeshi apparel exporters should make use of the opportunity.
“Bangladesh should aim to pursue a higher growth vision, diversifying textile material from cotton to non-cotton to make its business sustainable amid the fierce competition in the global market,” stated the BGMEA President, adding, “Now is time to shift from quantity to quality, from volume to value.”
He also reportedly called for foreign investment in Bangladesh’s non-cotton textile industry such as the production of man-made fibre (MMF)-based apparel which will create demand for artificial fibres and other raw materials in the local market.
So, even as the BGMEA President called upon the garment makers to focus more on value addition through using MMF to bargain better price points, the number of spinners producing different types of synthetic and blended yarns for high-end garments have now reportedly reached to around 50 from 10 over the last five years even as many have stepped up investing more in synthetic and blended yarns in response to the increasing use of such yarns globally while also to decrease dependency on cotton yarns and stay competitive in the global market.
Many of the leading spinners in Bangladesh are now reportedly setting up new facilities for manufacturing synthetic and blended yarns even as the global synthetic fibres market size was valued at US $ 59.95 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6 per cent from 2021 to 2028 while according to research (Grand View Research), the synthetic fibres market size will amount to US $ 99.78 billion by 2028.
Meanwhile, Envoy Group is reportedly investing Tk 125 crore to set up a synthetic blended yarn production capacity even as the new unit will reportedly produce 12 tonnes of yarn per day.
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