Geoff Krasnov offers apparel/clothing/garment manufacturing and sourcing news.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Cotton Likely to Remain Scarce/Synthetics Surging in Price

I recently spoke with one of the most prominant people in the cotton fiber industry. He helped me understand the environment today. With the worldwide shortage there is a great need to increase plantings of cotton fiber. Unfortunately, other crops like wheat, soybeans and corn command higher dollars per acre than cotton. With the lack of availability of additional acreage the industry must focus on increasing the yield per acre. There is no slow down in growth in India and China, and even with increased yields it is projected we will continue to experience shortages for at least several years. In the meantime, with ever rising petroleum costs, synthetics are enjoying their own dramatic upward climb in prices. The only caveat to the negative news is the realization that clothing has never been cheaper in real dollars. In 1910 it took a man 50 hours of labor to afford a new suit. By 1940 that increased to 90 hours. Today, at an average wage of $20 an hour a $300 suit costs only 15 hours of labor. In that context, clothing has never been cheaper.


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