UK wool struggles to compete

Tuesday, 19 June, 2001

By FWi staff

WOOL prices are set to fall and handling costs to rise after foot-and-mouth caused severe disruption of the British Wool Marketing Boards (BWMB) operations.

The organisations latest price schedule, released this week, indicates the average price paid to producers this year will be 42p/kg, a decrease of 8p/kg from last season.

However, a spokeswoman for the board emphasises that this figure comprises two parts – the balance of last years clip and an advance payment for the current crop.

“Because of the disruption caused by foot-and-mouth we are starting the season without any clear market information so we have had to be more conservative with the advance payment.”

“Any shortfall could be made up in next years schedule,” she adds. Costs will increase by 2.5p/kg to 20.5p/kg, again due to foot-and-mouth. “We are now having to store wool for two months to ensure the virus is destroyed.”

She also notes that any shortfall in supply caused by the recent cull is unlikely to result in increased prices. “The continuing strength of the against the NZ$ means UK wool is still struggling to compete on the world market.”

Organic sheep producers will have their wool marked separately for the first time this season. But, as yet, the BWMB says it has “no idea” if the product will command any price premium.


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