29 Oct 2013

Wool scarcity continues to hamper exporters

7:12 am on 29 October 2013

A continuing shortfall in the supply of wool coming through to auction is worrying exporters who are struggling to fill orders for overseas processors.

The industry's rostering committee met recently to revise its supply forecasts after a run of sales where the wool offered for auction fell well short of what had been expected.

But even the revised rosters have proved to be over-optimistic.

New Zealand Wool Services International general manager John Dawson says he can't remember a time when there has been such a shortage of carpet wools and it is making trading conditions very difficult for exporters and their customers.

He says the situation is also making customer planning difficult, causing delays and price spikes.

Mr Dawson says an over-supply 12 to 18 months ago probably threw the forecasts out of kilter.

However, he also thinks there's more wool being sold outside the auction system now and a change of land use from sheep to dairy, particularly in the South Island, has affected supply.

Mr Dawson says it could be the end of the year or early next year before the wool supply imbalance rights itself.