23 Dec 2013

Wool supply uncertainties puzzle buyers and exporters

8:17 am on 23 December 2013

Wool supply uncertainties are continuing to puzzle buyers and exporters.

A shortage of wool coming through for auction has forced the cancellation of the first South Island sale of the New Year.

The cancellation of the 9 January sale was one of the factors that caused prices to pick up again last week after falling for several weeks.

Malcolm Ching, marketing manager for the country's biggest exporter, New Zealand Wool Services International, says having a sale cancelled at what is normally a busy time in the selling season is disruptive.

He says the usual rules do not seem to be applying this year which is causing difficulties for brokers, merchants and exporters in determining what wool is available, when it is going to be shorn and when it will be available to be purchased.

"So we are selling to what is normally the traditional volumes and the traditional types at this time of year and then finding that the wool is just not there at this time which has created quite a bit of disruption for us."

Mr Ching says while it's certain the wool flow will pick up between January and March, there are already indications of some quality issues coming through, with high seed contamination in the wool and deteriorating colour.