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New wool season opens in Port Elizabeth
16
Aug '11
The 2011/12 wool season commences on Wednesday (17 August) when approximately 14 000 bales will be on offer at auction in Port Elizabeth. The season opens amid uncertainty about the world economy and the debt crisis in the USA and Euro-zone countries, which may have a dampening effect on prices. Local traders, however, expect the market to remain strong.

The past season has been one of the best seasons for the South African wool industry in decades. The Cape Wools Merino indicator gained 68% to close at R97,29c kg (clean wool), the highest level since the late 1980s, following the strong demand for wool.

This happened despite the relative strength of the rand. In dollar terms, the market's performance was even more impressive, with the indicator up 82% by season's end.

In total, 99% of the 284 826 bales offered was sold. The total sales value amounted to R1,67 billion, an increase of almost 30% compared with the previous season. Production for 2010/11 is estimated at 46,1 million kg, which is down 4,4% on the previous season.

Production for 2011/12 is expected to remain at around this level.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Chinese authorities have reached an agreement to reduce the waiting period for the export of unprocessed wool from districts that were affected by Rift Valley Fever (RVF) to three months. The Department is awaiting final diplomatic confirmation from China.

The Department presently stipulates that the three-month waiting period come into effect after a district has been officially declared free of the disease while the Chinese have agreed that the waiting period could start three months after the last reported outbreak. It is hoped that the Department will consider using the last reported outbreak date.

The present situation is that all wool from RVF-free areas shorn this year qualifies for export to China. Wool that was shorn while a district was still regarded as RVF affected, will not qualify. Such wool, however, can still be exported to other countries.

Cape Wools has appealed to producers to vaccinate their animals against RVF.

Cape Wools SA

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