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Mixed views from latest Nanjing Wool Market Conference

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The 28th International Wool Trade Fair & Information Conference was held in Wuxi China in September and was attended by over 500 delegates, over 100 delegates coming from outside of China.


Nanjing Wool Market Conference is an annual meeting of the global wool industry that facilitates discussion on current industry issues, future developments, and new market opportunities. Participants include wool exporters, major early wool processors, yarn and garment manufacturers, and trade representatives from various countries, as well as Chinese government officials.


Mixed views were expressed by delegates and speakers regarding the state of the industry as a whole.


Chinese manufacturers are now focusing on finer wools mostly due to government uniform orders. It is interesting to note that the specifications for these uniforms are now more precise, with the government demanding better quality that will see demand for 19 micron wool and below.


To retain its place in the uniform market wool must compete with other fibres in the sector’, said Ms Cao Xiaojie, Professor, Fashion and Art Design Institute at Donghua University, a senior adviser to the government. ‘It must offer better design and better quality’.


The feeling regarding crossbred wools was not so optimistic. Some processors expressed concern about the huge stocks of crossbred wools in China, and with challenging retail conditions in China in particular, a drop in demand for double-sided fabric will see demand for crossbred wool subdued. It should be pointed out that this stock over capacity is not particular to all processors in China but could be specific to only a few of them.


More positively, Chinese manufacturers of winter wear are using much more wool in their garments than they used previously.


Although the presentation from Madam Yang, Chairwoman of NWM/SDIC, painted a bleak picture of the industry she did comment that machines are still running and Chinese manufacturers will take advantage of opportunities both in China and overseas. She further commented that trade agreements for New Zealand and Australia will make their wool slightly more competitive, putting pressure on prices for wools from Uruguay, South Africa, and Europe.


Another interesting statement came from David Michell, CEO Michell Australia. This company operates processing plants in both China and Australia and according to David Michell processing costs in Australia are cheaper today than costs in China.


Presentations were made to the conference in relation to policy and environmental issues by Chinese and international delegates.  Chris Wilcox Chairman Market Intelligence Committee IWTO presented the latest production forecasts from major wool producing countries and outlined expected demand for 2017.


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