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Improved outlook for natural fibres
Mar '10
World prices of natural fibres are forecast to increase in 2010-11 as supplies tighten and demand improves, delegates at the ABARE Outlook conference in Canberra.

ABARE Chief Commodity Analyst, Dr Jammie Penm, said the Eastern Market Indicator price for wool is forecast to increase in 2010-11 as world economic recovery continues. “Wool supplies in Australia, the world's largest exporter of greasy wool, are expected to remain low because of a decline in sheep numbers,” Dr Penm said. “Demand for woollen products is expected to rise in 2010-11 as consumer confidence improves coming out of the global financial crisis.”

Dr Penm highlighted the importance of China's textile manufacturing sector for the Australian wool industry. “China is expected to move increasingly into higher quality woollen textiles and clothing over the medium term in response to competition from low cost textile manufacturers in South East Asia,” Dr Penm said.

Armelle Gruère, an economist with the International Cotton Advisory Committee, also took part in the session and told delegates that the short-term global cotton price outlook is brighter than it has been in recent years. Global cotton mill use has recovered more quickly than expected after the global financial crisis, and an expected decline in cotton stocks will provide support to cotton prices in the short to medium term.

“Cotton production, at least in the short term, is forecast to be smaller than projected demand,” Mrs Gruère said.

Delegates also heard from Felicity McDonald, PR and Communications Manager of The Merino Company, who emphasised the need for product differentiation and risk management in promoting natural fibres such as wool to retailers and consumers. “Our business model encourages wool producers to participate further in the wool supply chain, and assists in developing branding and marketing techniques for wool products at retail,” said Ms McDonald.

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics

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