The latest data on Australian wool exports from the Australian Bureau of Statistics were a bit of a pleasant surprise. It shows that the volume of wool exported from Australia in June actually increased in June compared with June 2019. The increase was only small (+3%) and the export volume in June 2019 was the lowest June monthly total for many years, but, still, any increase in the current environment is very welcome. The reason that the volume of wool exports increased in June was due entirely to a 19% increase in exports to China. As a result, China accounted for 91% of Australia’s exports by volume in June. Exports to all of the other major destinations recorded significant declines for the month. There were some interesting exceptions to this general decline among the smaller destinations. For example, the volume of exports to Uruguay were 45% higher than in June 2019, while exports to New Zealand were 292% higher. Both were only small volumes, however. While the total volume of wool exports lifted marginally in June, the value of wool exports fell by 34%.
For the full 2019/20 season, export volumes were down by 20%, to 252.5 mkg, the lowest total for a season since at least the start of the 1980s and probably the lowest for almost a century. The value of exports was down by more than a third compared with 2018/19 at $2.525 billion. This is no surprise given the drop in volumes and the 35% drop in wool prices at auction.
There were significant drops in exports to almost all destinations for the season to date. There was one bright spot, with increased exports to Bulgaria in both volume and value. For the full season, China accounted for 79% of Australia’s wool exports by volume and 77% by value.
Full details, including a table showing the changes in the value and volume of wool exports in total and by major destination for June and for the full season, is provided in the full edition of the NCWSBA Weekly Newsletter. Available to NCWSBA members.