Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Surge in Demand Is Welcome

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Surge in Demand Is Welcome

Article excerpt

Byline: WOOL Jo Blakemore? 0191 201 6440 ?

HIGH clearance rates at the British Wool Marketing Board's (BWMB) wool auctions in the first half of 2013 means the organisation is heading into the new wool season in a strong position, according to chief executive Ian Hartley.

Speaking at the North Sheep event in Harrogate, he said: "As a result of a competitive market in the early part of the year, the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) has been able to sell the entire 2012 clip ahead of schedule and clear a 5 million kg carry-over from the previous season. "The market was so strong that we have had to cancel the final auction of the season as we had insufficient wool to sell."

After a turbulent period of trading in mid-to-late 2012, when both prices and clearance rates fell sharply, producer payments for this year will be lower than last year but Mr Hartley said the recent surge in demand was welcome news for wool producers.

He added: "It is no secret that the market wasn't in very good shape last summer and autumn. But thanks to BWMB's strong cash flow position we were able to hold wool back when trade was tough and as a result stimulate demand for the benefit of BWMB supplying farmers."

Last summer's dip in trade was a direct result of slowing demand from China, a major trading area for British wool, and reduced sales to the carpet sector which has been hard hit in the economic downturn.

Mr Hartley said: "Carpets are generally a significant purchase for most households; as such they are replaced relatively infrequently. The economic uncertainty in much of the world has resulted in much lower carpet sales which have fed back through to wool sales."

Looking ahead to the coming season, BWMB chairman and English Northern Board member, Malcolm Corbett - who farms at Dyke Head, Rochester, Northumberland - said he was hopeful of the recent strong demand continuing.

He said: "There are no signs of demand slipping at the moment and there are signs the market in China is rising again. …

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