Customer Wants Level Playing Field
By J. Karl Rudy, Technical Editor
Just after he remarked about the possibility of higher prices next year, he was reminded that he had been saying that for several years. His comment: "Well, we have to have a positive attitude about it. But it appears to me that open-end spinners are afraid of losing a pound of business, so they quote these ridiculous prices. One spinner told me that he had heard of an 18/1 OE cotton yarn sold as a circular-knit yarn for 89 cents a pound plus — now get this — plus the cotton rebate.
When something as illogical as this is done, you wonder if they ever look at a cost sheet. Has this crowd learned their lesson yet?" The consensus was — No. He also mentioned that another factor in the pricing problem is the problem his customers are having with credit. They are apparently filing for Chapter 11 in increasing numbers.
OE Markets Go Crazy
Several spinners classified the OE market as "crazy." One spinner said, after quoting asking prices for this type yarn, "You could probably go out and buy a 16/1 cotton yarn for 90 cents a pound. We are running full, but at the end of the week, you ask yourself ‘was it worth it?’" The consensus here, too, was — No!
Another said, "All markets are generally slow, especially those in knitted outerwear and domestic and home furnishing weaver’s fabrics. We attribute this to an inventory adjustment and expect an up-turn soon. Retail sales have been disappointing this past summer. All summer business is slow, but this one has been especially bad, particularly in open-end yarn."
Looking on the brighter side, the Yarn Market finds spinners of ring-spun yarns continue having their place in the sun. All of their markets are "great — wide open." Not only are the orders coming in, but orders are backlogged. Ring-spun inventories are non-existent. One spinner commented, "We can’t afford an inventory because we are running so far behind. The biggest catalyst to this was the increase in denim orders." In other words — denim is back.
There is more good news. One respondent said, "We are finally beginning to see some reconciliation to the over-supply of open-end yarn. We are taking some OE yarn machines out, and other spinners are taking out the older, more expensive-to-operate machines as well." So maybe spinners will finally see some relief from the pricing dilemma they have complained about for years.
One spinner commented that he had already picked up some small orders related to the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI). He also sees this as a continuing trend. His optimism is shared by many in this diversified industry — from synthetic spinners to texturizers, including yet another spinner who said, "We have had a few orders for this business, but we are fielding a lot of inquiries concerning CBI yarn business. This area is very active! We are also exporting to Mexico and the growth here, while not as dramatic as it was initially, continues at a slower rate. Of course, our exports are offset to some extent by imports from Mexico."
Texturizers are sounding more like OE cotton yarn spinners every day — volume is good across the board, but margins are poor. "We are really wrestling with pricing," commented one texturizer, "and our biggest problem is with imports." Although overall volume is good, there is concern about bottom-weight apparel goods. Orders seem to be dropping off, and a down-turn is expected in the fourth quarter.
The volume of inquiries from CBI areas is an indicator that help is on the way to beleaguered spinners.
As the fellow on the Murphy Brown show might say "Alls I know, you just have to keep on keeping on."