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Inflation to hit London Fashion Week

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Textile prices, like many raw materials, are soaring on resurgent demand, and the rocketing cost of energy and transport, industry experts say.

The price of cotton, linen, silk and wool, as well as synthetic materials derived from petroleum, have in the past few months surged, boosted also by the global supply-chain crunch.

As a result, red-hot inflation has become a major talking point at the industry’s London Fashion Week showpiece.

Price hikes represent a new challenge for the industry, which was first struck by Brexit and then by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The textile and clothing industry noticed an impressive surge in cotton prices,” the European association of textile producers, Euratex, said in a statement.

“The restart of activity worldwide in 2021 and the increased demand from the textile industry have accelerated the mechanism of [market] tension on raw materials,” it added. “This has resulted in a shortage and rising material costs.”

Cotton, which had last year surged almost 50 percent, peaked earlier this month at US$1.29 per pound, a level last seen in 2011.

Organic has experienced buoyant demand due to low stockpiles.

The cost of wool and flax linen rebounded between September 2020 and June last year, following an almost three-year decline.

The industry has also been spooked by the sky-high cost of oil.

Oil had threatened to top US$100 per barrel last week on simmering tensions between Ukraine and key crude producer Russia.

“The ongoing upswing in oil prices is lending buoyancy because it increases the price of synthetic fibers that compete with cotton.

The price of synthetic fibers, such as acrylics, nylon and polyester, has also shot up.

Textiles also face the same snarled-up supply chains that have plagued economies worldwide.

“Demand is strong amid inflation concerns and logistical issues that make it harder for world buyers to source any cotton anywhere.

Importers and exporters face a huge spike in transport costs, as reopening economies create feverish demand for container shipping.

The US is more affected by the sharp rise in shipping than the price of the materials.

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