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Demand for short staple wool on the rise

An increasing in demand for short staple wool is forcing woolgrowers to shear their sheep more often. Australian producers visiting China last month realized the impact of casualization in clothing markets, which is driving the demand for short staple wool.

According to, Guo Xin Ya, Vice General Manager of the Open Top Textile Corporation (OTCL), which is 33 per cent owned by Australian wool buyer, says that there is a strong demand for short wool, which means they have to shear their sheep more often, supporting a rising trend among some woolgrowers towards shearing three times in 24 months. While some processors have already taken a lead too meet the demand, competitively-priced, long staple fleece wools is also being cut in half to provide short pieces needed to feed the fashion industry's knitwear machinery. China buys between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of Australia's raw wool output. About half Australia's exports to China are processed and re-exported to Europe, America and Japan, however China is also an increasingly powerful market for woolen clothing.

Casualisation of the apparel market though strong in Asia, it also clearly evident in Europe, North America and Australia, according to Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).