Data on exports from the five major wool exporting countries (Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa and Uruguay) for the calendar year 2017 to May shows only Australia and South Africa have recorded an increase in wool exports in 2017. New Zealand and Argentina have both seen a large drop in exports, while exports from Uruguay have also fallen. Exports from NZ have fallen in each of the past two years while exports from Uruguay have dropped three years running.
The most significant driver of these trends in exports (whether it be higher for Australia or lower for NZ, Argentina and Uruguay) is China. Exports to China from NZ, Argentina and Uruguay have fallen by 37%, 36% and 21% respectively for the five months to May in 2017. For Australia, exports to China have lifted by 11% despite the dip in May. The sharp drop in exports to China by NZ, Argentina and Uruguay have outweighed the increase in exports by Australia, so that total exports to China is down by 4% in the first five months of the 2017 calendar year. Of the other major processing countries, exports to Germany have lifted, but otherwise exports have fallen in the January-May 2017 period compared with the same period in 2016. This suggests that, other than demand for wool from Australia and, to a lesser extent, from South Africa, current demand conditions for raw wool are quite soft. The question is whether the soft demand conditions seen for other countries start to affect demand from Australia.
Full details including charts showing the wool exports for the five major exporting countries and wool imports by the major wool processing countries are included in the NCWSBA Weekly Newsletter for the week ending 21st July 2017. Available to NCWSBA members.