Nylon Prices, markets & analysis
ICIS offers trusted and reliable market intelligence for those buying or selling Nylon or related products in the global Nylon market.
Our reporters across Asia, Europe and the US keep in touch with local markets, bringing you price assessments, in-depth news and analysis which you can rely on to guide you in your commercial decisions.
Our editor gives their expert view
Nylon Overview Transcript
Nylon is widely used in the manufacture of hosiery, garments, straps, ropes, filaments, nets and tyre cords.
It is often replaced by cheaper-cost polyester as a synthetic fibre. But demand for nylon remains strong in certain technical niches such as women’s hosiery and intimate apparel, because of its fine deniers, dark colours and durable textures. Tyre cord is also one of nylon’s strongholds.
Currently China is the world’s largest producer, consumer, importer and exporter of textiles.
Downstream demand growth for nylon is gradually concentrating in China and is regarded by many industrial players as the only location where important capacity additions can occur.
China relies heavily on Taiwan’s production capacity, currently importing more than 70% of the nylon chips consumed by it’s domestic nylon yarn market.
Demand is higher during the peak manufacturing season during the spring and autumn.
One of the key price drivers for nylon is the feedstock caprolactam prices which is fundamentally tight.
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Nylon: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2015
European nylon demand typically decreases during the third quarter, because of end-use summer holiday outages. Nevertheless, nylon 6,6 is tight on the back of production problems. And nylon 6 demand at the beginning of July was unseasonably high because it is being used as a substitute for polypropylene (PP) – which is globally tight – for carpet applications. Nylon players are still expecting a downturn in July and August consumption, but the extent remains unclear.
The US nylon 6 and nylon 6,6 markets are expected to remain relatively steady, although they may slow down a bit for the seasonal lull as participants are away for summertime vacation. Nevertheless, demand is expected to remain healthy, particularly in the downstream automotive industry, which continues to show growth. The building and construction industries are starting to catch up following the delayed demand season caused by the late end to winter. Demand levels for consumer and industrial products should continue to be good.
On the supply side, nylon 6 availability is expected to remain ample. The tightness in nylon 6,6 availability is expected to improve in the third quarter. Although a major nylon 6,6 producers has been on force majeure since early April, the plant is said to be operating at normal rates as the supplier catches up on orders. The force majeure is expected to be lifted sometime during the first part of the third quarter.
Asia nylon 6 chips and yarn demand is expected to be slow for the third quarter because of a slowdown in textile consumption in summer. Producers are looking to keep their inventories lean on raw materials as end-product inventories continue to increase. Supply would remain long despite cuts in nylon polymerization operating rates in China and Taiwan putting pressure on prices and squeezing in on margins.
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Nylon, also called polyamide, is used mainly in fibre and engineering polymer applications. The two main nylons are nylon 6, which is made from caprolactam, and nylon 6,6, which is produced from adipic acid.
Nylon fibres are used in apparel such as ladies’ hosiery (stockings), sleepwear and underwear, carpets and home furnishings. Other fibre applications include tyre cord, fishing line, brush bristles and tough fabrics for parachutes, backpacks and luggage.
Nylon engineering resins are employed in automotive parts such as bearings, gears, cams and intake manifolds.
Other applications include industrial machinery and electrical and electronic equipment. Compounding the nylon with reinforcements, fillers, impact modifiers, flame retardants and other additives further enhances its properties to give a wider range of applications.