04 March 1999
Australia’s wool industry ‘in trouble’

AUSTRALIAS wool industry is in “trouble”, reports the Financial Times.

Export values and volume have crashed, real wool prices are at their lowest ever and stocks of wool yarns remain high in Japan and western Europe, says the paper.

More than 15% of producers are bankrupt against a background of plunging Australian wool production and a downturn in demand in Russia and eastern Europe.

A scheme to support wool prices has failed, resulting in the accumulation of huge stockpiles from which it is just beginning to recover, says the paper.

The Australian Commodities quarterly says weak demand and strong competition from lower priced synthetic fibres are expected contribute to poorer Australian wool prices in 1998/99.

Wool contributes 10% of Australias gross value of agricultural production.