Wool faces weak world demand for six months warns AWI boss

Wool demand in key markets will be flat for next six months

Coronavirus
TOUGH TIMES: Australian Wool Innovation chairman, Colette Garnsey, said growers should batten down for a tough six months because of the impact of coronavirus. Picture: MARK GRIGGS

TOUGH TIMES: Australian Wool Innovation chairman, Colette Garnsey, said growers should batten down for a tough six months because of the impact of coronavirus. Picture: MARK GRIGGS

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Australian Wool Innovation chairman Colette Garnsey has written to grower shareholders to update them on how the company is dealing with coronavirus.

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Some wool factories have reopened in China while others have lost orders from buyers in the United States, Australian Wool Innovation chairman Colette Garnsey has told growers.

"The Italian factories remain shut and it is unclear when life and industry will return to normal there, (along with) the United Kingdom or the United States.

"For the next six months overall consumer demand for wool in those three markets will be weak.

"At AWI we have already cancelled or postponed a series of marketing initiatives that rely on face to face shopping in the short term.

"The marketing team is already working hard to tap into what people are likely to purchase online over the coming months and identify the opportunities for wool," she told grower shareholders in a letter to update them on how AWI and The Woolmark Company are handling the Covid-19 pandemic.

AWI and Woolmark employees were instructed to work remotely from March 18 and all company offices are now closed or are open with skeleton staff.

Ms Garnsey said the board was looking beyond the immediate horizon to ensure the company had identified markets and sectors within those markets most likely to respond quickly after the emergency had passed.

"At AWI we have already cancelled or postponed a series of marketing initiatives that rely on face to face shopping in the short term," she said.

"The marketing team is already working hard to tap into what people are likely to purchase online over the coming months and identify the opportunities for wool."

Ms Garnsey welcomed the Federal Government's decision to allow shearing to continue under strict health and hygiene protocols.

"We continue to work on how this will work in the shearing shed.....in close co-operation with groups like the West Australian Shearing Industry Association and the Shearing Contractors Association of Australia.

"On the AWI website www.wool.com we are providing up-to-date information, tutorials and simple signs that can be put up in shearing sheds to help in this regard.

"Wool auction rooms also pose a challenge in terms of managing social distancing. For now they remain open.

"The Australian Wool Exchange's National Auction Selling Committee has asked WoolQ to help demonstrate online selling in the light of future disruption due to COVID-19.

"It has always been WoolQ's aim to complement all the strengths of the existing system at the same time as delivering additional services, rather than a replacement.

"AWI remains focused on facilitating the development of a 10-year strategic plan for Australian woolgrowers.

"While AWI has agreed to resource the development of the plan, the Woolgrower Consultation Group (WCG), will provide the principal oversight for the project."

The story Wool faces weak world demand for six months warns AWI boss first appeared on Farm Online.

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