A year-long doubling of cotton prices has put a scare in the local textile and apparel industry and had a significant impact on the manufacturing of cheap clothing, AFP reported Sunday.
The news agency reported from India that the price of cotton in the global markets reached $1.50 a pound (0.45 kilograms) for the first time November 9, twice the price of 12 months ago.
Cotton prices rose steadily during the past year, caused by tight supplies and growing demand all over the world. The pressure on the textile industry has been notable, and many fear it could lead to fewer sales less as prices rise.
"Top global retailers have for years cut the prices of clothing to ensure higher profits for their shareholders. But they must now understand that the era of cheap fashion is all but over," Hasan Khaled, former chief of Wal-Mart's Bangladesh purchase office, told AFP last week.
A London-based clothing analyst for research group Euromonitor, Zaena Miller, argued that it was still too early to declare the end of the cheap-fashion era, but consumers need to be prepared for more price hikes.
As the third-biggest clothing producer in the world, Bangladesh's economy relies on its textile manufacturing, 80 percent of which is exported.
Bangladesh is also the second-biggest importer of cotton, buying 1 million tons a year, AFP reported. China imports the third-most.
According to official figures, cotton prices in China increased about 70 percent, from 18,000 yuan ($2,707) to 30,000 yuan ($4,512) per ton, from September to the beginning of November.
An employee surnamed Zhang, who works in the import/export department of Chinatex Cooperation in Beijing, told the Global Times, "Our products are generally exported to European countries. We have our own cotton supplier, and the dramatic increase in cotton prices globally has not actually had an impact on our exporting business, because we have a stable customer base."