Wool prices could be on the slide

Vincent Pierce from Wicklow-based Laurence Pierce (Wool Merchants) Ltd, has told Agriland that fleece prices are currently in the range 30c/kg to €1.30/kg.

“These prices are based on wool delivered to our depots in the various parts of the country. But, due to pressure from the Chinese market, these figures may well drop by as much as 10% over the coming month.

“Up to this point, flock owners have been benefitting from the dry warm conditions. As a consequence, the fleeces delivered to us are exceptionally clean. They are also heavier than in previous years, averaging three and a half kilos. We would normally expect this figure to be in the region of 3kg.”

Vincent also said that wool from lowland breeds is making the top market price. “Scotch wool, from the various Blackface breeds, is divided into three categories.

“We are currently buying Connemara fleeces at prices which range from 30 to 35 cent. This rises to between 50 and 60 cent for Donegal wool with Kerry fleeces making from 70-80c/kg under current market conditions.

The wool merchant went on to point out that the vast bulk of Irish wool is exported to China. “It’s been that way for the past thirty years. It is a market that is growing. But the problem on the horizon is that China has just about reached its wool import quota for 2014. And once this happens a downward price on fleece prices in this country could quickly take effect. “

The Laurence Pierce company also has 20 wool collection depots in England. “We have been buying wool off farm in Britain for the past number of years and it is a business that continues to grow organically in the region of 10% per annum,” he said.

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