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Wool trade collapses as merchants unable to quote prices

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Irish wool merchants are unable to offer farmers a price for wool at the moment

Irish wool merchants are unable to offer farmers a price for wool at the moment

Irish wool merchants are unable to offer farmers a price for wool at the moment

The wool trade has collapsed as Covid-19 restrictions in Britain pile pressure on what were already record low prices for the fabric.

Sellers were quoted as low as 50c/kg last year. Wool merchants now say they are unable to quote prices and instead are taking wool into storage or telling farmers to store it themselves until the market rallies.

A significant amount of Irish wool is sent to Britain for treatment before being exported to China.

"Staff at wool-washing and blending plants in the UK have been put on furlough because of Chinese plants being shut," Kevin Dooley of Dooley Wool in Roscrea told the Farming Independent.

"As a result Irish wool merchants are unable to offer farmers a price for wool at the moment. Instead we are opting to take wool into storage until at the market opens back up again. Farmers may opt to store wool and if they do, they need to make sure it is properly stored in a dry environment."

He added that sales at the British wool marketing board have been "very poor lately".

'Pathetic'

"The last few sales have seen a drop in nearly 50pc in price compared to this time last year, with a 30pc reduction in wool been offered.

"European wool will also come on board in the next few months which will cause a stockpile and it may take several months for this clear."

Another wool merchant described the current situation as "pathetic".

"This the worst I've ever seen the wool trade. People I sell wool to in China say that the situation won't be back to normal for two years. It's impossible to sell large quantities of wool at the minute - there's some interest from small cottage industries but this isn't near enough."

Indo Farming