Wool market going from bad to worse

By FW Staff

BAD, and getting worse, is how British Wool Marketing Board managing director Ian Hartley described the market at the boards recent annual conference of regional representatives.

“The Bradford wool industry is facing its worst-ever crisis. No one is making a profit.” The wool price was 66p/kg, as at the height of the 1990-91 Australian wool crisis. Values had fallen by 30% in less than a year to average 75p/kg, and he expected a similar fall next year, when wool cheques could average just 50p/kg.

“Although we are selling some wool 15 months in advance for the first time, I doubt we will be able to achieve a much greater price.”

The board would be writing to breed societies stressing the need to avoid polypropylene contamination, he added. Although only 1% of the clip was contaminated, that represented 200,000 fleeces.

By the year 2000 the board hoped to offer British wool subject to more objective measurements, including colour, and yield when scoured.

  • The structure of the BWMB is to be streamlined, resulting in an estimated saving of £82,000 a year. Board membership could fall from 16 to 11 by 1 April, 2000, subject to ministerial approvals. Restructuring, which had helped cut marketing costs from 18.5p/kg in 1995 to 17.3p today, would continue.

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