07 May 1999
Australian wool under threat

BUYERS and processors are starting to drop out of the Australian wool market after a decade of depressed prices, according to the Financial Times.

The newspaper reports a number of intended departures: Japanese trade house Nisho Iwai; German processor BWK; and Japanese textile manufacturer Toyobo.

The spate of rationalisation reflects a 40% collapse in Australian wool production from 1.1 million tonnes in 1989 to a forecast of 605,000 tonnes next season.

Australias sheep population is at 117m the lowest since the early 1950s but the Woolmark Company, the Australian wool promotional body, prospects could improve.

The Woolmark Business Survey says the outlook over the next year is encouraging with a general improvement in orders over the March quarter.

Activity is rising especially in China, Korea and Taiwan.