Global yarn and fabric production dropped significantly in the first quarter of this year, according to new research by an industry umbrella group, with a strong recovery in Brazil unable to offset a fall in output in China.

However, while the results were below those posted in the fourth quarter of 2009, levels were considerably higher than in the first quarter of that year, the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) said.

Its State of Trade Report noted that yarn and fabric production was not only down in Asia but also in Europe too,  while output in South and North America was stable or rose in comparison to the previous quarter.

Global yarn stocks also fell slightly, mainly due to lower inventories in South America while those in the other regions remained almost unchanged.

Higher inventories in Asia, South America and a modest increase in Europe helped lift global fabric stocks.

Yarn orders increased in South America but remained unchanged in Europe. While fabric orders rose in Europe and jumped in South America.

World yarn production dropped by 12.8% quarter-on-quarter, as output in China tumbled by 17.3%. Europe, meanwhile, saw a decrease of 4.0%, whereas North and South America’s production rose by 5.1% and 17.4% respectively.

In comparison to last year’s quarter, though, all regions recorded higher output levels.

Worldwide fabric production fell by 9.7% in the quarter, with declines seen in both Asia (-11.4%) and Europe (-3.6%). The main reason for this drop was a 16.4% fall in fabric production in China. North and South America on the other hand reported stable and higher output levels of 0% and 5.3%, respectively.

Even so, global fabric production increased year-on-year by 8.3%.

Only North America’s fabric production declined during the quarter (-9.2%), contrasting with Europe (+20.3%), Asia (+8.3%) and South America (+2.4%).

World yarn inventories fell 0.8% in the quarter, with the largest decline seen in South America (-4.8%), followed by Europe (-0.9%) and Asia (-0.6%).

On an annual basis world yarn stocks were down by 7.7% as inventories dropped 31.4% in South America, in Asia (-8.1%) and in Europe (-4.7%).

Fabric stocks were up 3.3% globally in the first quarter, with Asia, South America and
Europe recording increases of 4.4%, 4.0% and 0.8%, respectively. The only fall (-0.6%) was seen in North America.

However, in comparison to last year’s first quarter, global fabric inventories skyrocketed in South America (36.0%) and Asia (11.7%). But they fell in North America (15.2%) and Europe (13%).

European yarn orders remained unchanged, whereas fabric orders rose by 1.5%. Brazil’s yarn orders were up by a good 7.2% while fabric orders jumped by an impressive 37.3%.

On an annual basis, yarn orders in Europe and Brazil were up by 15.5% and 25.3%, and fabric orders grew both in Brazil (9.5%) and Europe (18.1%).