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Australian wool – under pressure on a number of fronts

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Australian wool sales experience uncertainty driven by the Coronavirus outbreak. This comes on top of the impact that extreme fires raging in some parts of Australia will have on clip quality, as well as the general economic slowdown around the world.  Nevertheless this weeks’ sales (6 February) have seen a positive upturn with wool prices claiming back all the losses of the last two weeks.

 

Suggestions around suspending wool auctions in Australia until the Coronavirus situation in China improves has been ruled out. Australian Council of Wool Exporters and Processors (ACWEP) discussed this issue and decided to continue with sales as planned. In an announcement made earlier this week it stated that ‘sales should be allowed to continue given that 23% of Australia’s wool exports goes to countries other than China, perhaps more with consideration to current circumstances’. It further states that ‘growers should retain their right to be able to offer their wool for sale’.

 

Chinese wool processors will not reopen until 10 February following extended New Year shut downs. Some indicate that closures may be extended beyond this date in some parts of China.

 

The long-term impact of the fires in Australia is still unclear. Some speculate that 12% of the wool clip could be affected. Reports from ABC Rural radio suggest that an estimated 8.2 million sheep have been affected by fire. It is expected that a clearer picture will immerge following the Wool Forecasting Committee that will report again in March.

 

 

 

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