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Promotion planned to push UK wool demand

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In the face of a tough global wool market the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) are working hard to maximise producer returns through a range of new marketing initiatives, explained BWMB chairman Ian Buchanan. “It is no secret that wool prices are under pressure this year, resulting in producer returns being lower than in 2015, as is the case for wool producers across the globe.  This is a result of the strong sterling for most of the selling season coupled with a weak New Zealand dollar.


Looking at the UK in particular Mr Buchanan said prices for some breeds may be harder hit than others due to a downturn in the demand for carpet style wools.  “In the last six months there has been a continued demand for the fine and medium wools as a result of Chinese interest.


It would be easy to look at the overall average price for all wools, however, of greater interest and importance are the individual breed prices, he added, “Fine and medium wools such as Texel and Lleyn wool are expected to average £1.02/kg, with Cheviot wool at £1.20/kg and Romney wool around £1.12/kg.”


“The carpet wool market has been tougher, due to tight price boundaries being pushed by retailers and the increasing use of polypropylene.”


“On the lowest end of the scale we expect Swaledale wool to make in the region of 40p/kg, Blackface an average of 61p/kg and Welsh wool about 45p/kg based on current market trends in recent months.  Of course no one wants to see wool prices slipping and that is why BWMB is investing in new marketing initiatives to drive demand.


In March 2016 the Board, with support from the Campaign for Wool (CfW), launched a new trade show for carpets held in London, “This was the first show of its kind held in London and was well supported by the UK carpet industry and was aimed specifically at carpet retailers, manufacturers and the interior design sector.


“The UK is still a major market for using British wool in carpets and with a difficult retail market in the UK, the show proved timely and successful, with commitments from the manufacturers already for next year’s show.


“Also, at the show the CfW launched a new website aimed at supplying consumer information about wool products and a search facility to highlight wool retailers in a particular area. Although only launched at the end of March, early indications are good and it is being supported by the carpet manufacturers.”


Clearance rates at BWMB auction sales over the last few months have been strong and there is still demand for quality British wools, said Mr Buchanan, “BWMB’s continuing development of its Quality Control Scheme last spring has helped maintain that demand, providing buyers with assurance of the wool they are buying and allowing them to pass that confidence on to their customers,” he explained.


This and the investment in marketing being made by BWMB are just two of the tangible benefits producers can see when marketing their wool through the Board. “The BWMB is the only way to achieve the true market value for your wool. The wool market, by its nature, will always be a competitive one and through its collaborative and cooperative nature BWMB is well placed to deliver the best returns for producers.


“Collective marketing through BWMB delivers many benefits, not least the opportunity for wool to be sold via the Board’s competitive auction system, a proven method over many years delivering the best possible returns for wool producers.”


Source: BWMB

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