• The Financial District


Skyrocketing demand for masks for robbed makers of diapers, sanitary towels and wet wipes in China with the fabric that they need, the Agence France Presse (AFP) reported on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Manufacturers say textiles such as nonwoven fabric have been in short supply from being diverted to the more lucrative mask business, leaving producers of hygiene products high and dry. Some firms have been forced to halve production or hike prices, with the industry expressing concern over the future of supply lines. China Youth Daily reported that as of April 4, some 69,000 companies in China were involved in the mask business, with 19,000 of these coming into the picture after January 25 -- days after Wuhan went into lockdown

As the coronavirus pushed China into lockdown after surfacing in the central city of Wuhan in December, leaders embarked on a massive effort to produce enough masks for overwhelmed medical staff and the country's 1.4 billion people.

But with everyone from carmakers to garment factories switching to mask production to meet demand, the cost of raw materials spiked, with no quick end in sight as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc worldwide. "It's not that we lack the capacity for production, but the costs are extremely high," said Huang Tenglong, deputy general manager of diaper maker Fujian Time and Tianhe Industrial Co. "In January, the raw material for our diapers cost around 13,000 yuan ($1,820 per ton) but at its peak, it went up to 140,000 or 150,000 yuan," he told AFP, referring to a period late last month as global demand for masks surged. #COVID19