17 April 1997

Fall in exports hits UK wool prices

WOOL prices have dropped as the strong £ cuts export demand.

At the Bradford sale last week, only 56% of the 2.4m kg of wool offered by the British Wool Marketing Board was sold. The average price was 72p/kg compared with 99p last year.

The boards director, Ian Hartley, said sterling had appreciated against the New Zealand $ by 36% in two years. And NZ wool prices had fallen to their lowest levels since the end of 1991, mainly as a result of the economy crisis in south-east Asia. "For the first time, comparative New Zealand wools are more than 20% cheaper than British wool and are continuing to fall," said Mr Hartley.

Reduced NZ sales into Asia had been offset by increased sales into Europe and British imports had increased by 34% on the year. "We are now the second biggest importer of New Zealand wools."

There would be a carryover of home stocks into the new season, for which prospects were not bright. &#42

Allan Wright