23 Mar 2012

China now taking half NZ wool exports

1:48 pm on 23 March 2012

There's been a big shift in New Zealand's wool export markets, with China now taking almost half the exported product.

At the same time, there's been a 14% drop in wool shipments to Europe, and exports to Australia have shrunk to about quarter of what they were last season.

Wool Exporters president John Dawson says economic conditions in the euro zone are behind the falling sales in European Union markets.

He says the 47% of exports now going to China reflects that country's continued growth as the world's biggest textile producer.

Mr Dawson says the sudden drop in exports to Australia is a real concern and reflects the big drop in demand for wool carpets in both Australia and New Zealand - a direct result of carpet wool prices almost doubling last year.

Wool exports to the end of January were down by 8% but were worth 28% more compared with the same period last year.

Most wool prices have firmed again at this week's wool sale.