Australian wool growers can rest assured the medium to long term market prospects for fine-medium Merino wools in China are sound.
Riverina wool grower John Sutherland has returned from an intensive supply pipeline tour of China, citing a buoyant outlook for 18 to 21 micron wools.
Mr Sutherland, Pooginook Merinos manager, toured China as part of the Fox & Lillie Rural contingent to study major woollen mills, processors and retailers.
Mr Sutherland said Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) was facilitating market demand and innovative products in China, leveraging its funding with industry commitment.
This is underpinned by education programs for Chinese retail sales staff, spinners, knitters, weavers, designers and university students.
Fox & Lillie Rural technical and marketing manager Eamon Timms forecast the Chinese market to become the most important consumer market globally within the next decade.
“The growth in spending on premium brands is exceeding the growth in consumer spending on normal retail,’’ Mr Timms said.
“If wool can build on its base and expand into new areas, we should have a solid future in this market,’’ he said. “Chinese wool consumption has slowed but although the growth is not as aggressive, it is still happening.’’
Collaborative work between AWI and Chinese processors was helping wool enter new areas. Mr Timms said AWI was involved in research and development work in worsted and woollen products.
“Some exciting fabrics are being worked on which capitalise on the unique properties of wool in a way synthetics cannot mimic,’’ he said.