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The market for specialty fibers can be broken down into four segments: aviation/aerospace, automotive, sporting goods, and other industrial. The aviation/aerospace segment of the market totaled a volume of nearly 52.8 million lbs in 2011 and is expected to increase at a CAGR of 8.8% to reach nearly 80.4 million lbs in 2016. The automotive segment of the market, which totaled nearly 47.3 million lbs in 2011, is expected to increase at a CAGR of 6% to reach 63.3 million lbs in 2016. The segment made up of sporting goods totaled nearly 16 million lbs in 2011 and, by 2016, should reach 21.3 million lbs, a CAGR of 5.9%. The other industrial segment, by far the largest, totaled 321 million lbs in 2011. By 2016, this segment should reach 468.6 million lbs, a CAGR of 7.9%.
A small yet strategic global market, specialty fibers are a critical and essential element in many advanced technologies. The specialty fibers industry, however, has changed significantly in the past 10 years. The financial crisis and a severe global recession particularly affected industrial and other end-use markets for specialty fibers, leading to diminished demand. At the same time, new entrants in China and expansions by existing producers have resulted in additional capacity. This has led to lower operating rates for many producers, a more competitive market, and pricing pressures; these drivers are expected to continue.
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