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China’s Raw Material Shortages Mean Higher Priced Finished Fabrics, Longer Lead-times

April 4, 2021


China’s Raw Material Shortages Mean Higher Priced Finished Fabrics, Longer Lead-times

MIAMI BEACH, FL—If the Pandemic wasn’t enough to slow the textile industry down, volatile price changes are being added to the mix of factors affecting fabric sales.

“There’s simply no let-up in the rapid-fire price changes coming out of China for upholstery fabrics,” one American importer told F&FI recently.
Clearly, Chinese suppliers finally realized they can raise prices and we don’t have a choice,” he says.

“For five years, we have had historically low prices for Chinese fabrics; four-dollar goods were $3.50 before the increases. Five years ago, these same goods were $3-$3.50 a yard. Still, when it comes to lower to middle price range goods, you still can’t beat China.”

“India is strong in cotton goods, but polyester fabrics are owned by China; Turkey is strong in higher-end velvets.

“Business is strong in the States for furniture and home décor,” he says. “People are staying home and improving their interior space. The RV business was also strong in 2021. Covid drove the business up.”

“The price for (PU) polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was hard hit on the upside,” the importer says. "However, other components including metal, rubber, wood, screws are also rising," he says.

“There are fewer mills in China making these products. This also extends to polyester. Still, you can’t buy products for less than Chinese suppliers charge, in spite of the increases and the extended lead-times due to shortages of these products.

The importer says polyester has risen 3-5 percent.

Chinese suppliers would not guarantee pricing even with the increases, he says. “Prices are up daily,” he adds.

When you add in increased transportation costs and the devaluation of the RMB, importers say fabric prices will be up 10 percent in April to the wholesaler and jobber.

“Most of us in the textile business are trying hard not to lose margin,” he says. “We’re still paying an extra 25 percent duty on Chinese imports to the USA which went into effect with the Trump administration. This probably won’t change. This is not the moment for the USA to give up collecting increased tax revenue, “the importer feels.


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