World production for manufactured fibres is expected to grow 5.3 per cent annually to 44 million metric tons in 2005 with advances driven by gains in synthetic fibres, a new study has claimed.

The report, by Cleveland-based industrial market research firm The Freedonia Group Inc, predicts manufactured fibres will expand their market share at the expense of natural fibres, rising to 65 per cent of total fibre demand in 2005.

It sees stronger consumer spending as boosting purchases of apparel and household items, with the global fibre industry forecast to continue its shift to the Asia/Pacific region, particularly China, South Korea and Taiwan.

The study adds that fibre demand and production in the US, Europe and Japan will be hit by market maturity and weaker economic fundamentals as well as rapid growth in Mexico#;s fledgling fibre industry.