+3.4% nonwovens capacity in 2018
Several new findings are included in the report. In 2018, North American nonwovens capacity increased to 5.17 million tons, a net increase of 3.4% over 2017. This growth figure accounts for not only the addition of new lines, but also machine productivity increases and line closures to arrive at a net increase growth figure.
North American imports and exports, in tonnage, increased 12.8% and 12.1% respectively year-on-year, after both had declined in 2017. However, the trends continue downward in exports and upward in imports, as over the last 5 years exports have declined 5.4% annually and imports have increased 10.8% annually. Even with the significant shifts in North American trade dynamics, nonwovens tend to stay where they are produced, with the net trade balance (imports less exports) accounting for only 4.6% of the region’s capacity.