WOOL PRICES have risen slightly on last year, bringing the average wool cheque for the 2003 clip to 56p/kg.

But a stronger Pound has reduced demand for British wool, despite low global stocks, says the British Wool Marketing Board.

The majority of British wool is traded in either US Dollars or Euros on the global market, and the weakening of the currencies has caused buyers to switch to New Zealand or South American supplies.

But there was still demand for raw material, said BWMB chairman Frank Langrish. “Sales in volume terms have been good. Prices will remain firm, as global supplies are short.”

He added that Australia and New Zealand had reduced their sheep numbers in the past 10 years to clear a wool backlog.

“The outlook for the beginning of the new season is good. Prices this year should cover the cost of shearing the sheep,” said Mr Langrish.