Wool prices increase by up to 20p/kg at auction

British Wool has noticed an increase in demand for wool at its recent auctions, with some fleeces selling for 15-20p/kg more than at previous events.

Values were up overall by about 20% at recent auctions, with a number of additional new buyers from around the world helping to support prices.

Wool markets have finally begun to see some uplift after a challenging few years, with little demand during the Covid-19 pandemic and higher energy and processing costs.

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Graham Clark, British Wool director of marketing, said: “Over the past few months we have seen a healthy improvement in both demand and prices at our auctions.”

He added that while retail sales and consumer confidence very much remained an issue in the UK, they had seen improvements across other markets, such as carpets, as well as good buying interest from China.

Mr Clark said: “Although we are still some way off where we need to be, these gains are very encouraging, and will help support member returns this year. We hope to see this trend continue into 2024.”

This new-found support for wool is good news for sheep farmers and should help to offer some improvement for 2023 clip prices after a more subdued summer for wool sales and low prices for the 2022 clip.

Farmers typically received less than £1 a fleece for the 2022 clip, with British Wool paying about 30p/kg for its core grades of wool.

This left farmers with just 75p a fleece for core grades based on a 2.5kg fleece, or £1.20 for a heavier 4kg fleece.

Meanwhile, Blackface wool received 20p/kg, while Welsh Mountain and Swaledale wool was paid out at just 10p/kg and 8p/kg, respectively – well below the cost of shearing.