Strong £ still hindering recovery in wool price

5 November 1999

Strong £ still hindering recovery in wool price

WOOL prices are unlikely to show a marked recovery until the £ weakens, but this seasons average price of 62p/kg should mark the bottom of the market, says the British Wool Marketing Board.

Speaking at the recent annual general meeting in Bradford, board chairman Alun Evans said a combination of strong sterling and a weak New Zealand dollar had given the New Zealanders a 40% price advantage compared with three years ago, with about a third of that appearing last summer.

Despite the depressed market, which had helped push UK prices down 11% on last year, 94% of the clip had been sold. At 52.6m kg, it was the second largest ever sold by the Board in a season, said Mr Evans.

Less versatile, coloured wools such as Swaledale and Herdwick were most difficult to sell. Some 1,800 producers were affected and the board agreed to make a first payment of 1p/kg – more than the wool is currently worth. While the board was hoping to develop insulating materials using coloured and kempy wools, it would be well into next year before full market approval is gained for the product, said Mr Evans.

Not just UK

The problem was not confined to UK producers. Last months conference of European Wool Growers heard of many producers left with several years wool lying on the farm. Those finding a market for best white wool received a third of the prices paid at British Wool auctions.

The BWMB was examining the possibility of including more foreign wool in its auctions to try to put a bottom in the European market, said Mr Evans. &#42

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