Wool Market Reports

CCWG Wool Market and Business Update Fall 2018

Written by CCWG Monday, October 29, 2018

CCWG Wool Market and Business Update – Fall 2018
2017/18 Wool Market Update

Read full Market Report for 2018

In the last 12 months fine wools from all origins have achieved unprecedented record prices although at the time of this writing prices have pulled back for most microns in the last couple of weeks.  Unfortunately the crossbred and broader wools which are much more plentiful in supply have been left behind for the most part and have only recorded marginal increases compared to the previous year.

The growth in fine wool prices can be attributed to two main factors.  There is major concern regarding future available supply due mainly to ongoing Australian drought in most of the major wool producing states.  This has resulted in decreased production ie lower fleece weights due to feed shortages and reduced sheep numbers.  For the 2018/19 season it does not look any better with the current forecast of a 5.7% reduction in the Australian wool clip.

As always, China is playing a major role in influencing the market due to the significant growth of their middle class and upper income earners.  Despite rising prices, consumer demand for wool apparel has continued to grow.  It was only ten years ago when China was mainly a low cost manufacturing and re-exporting destination for most of the wool exported to China.  Today more than half of China wool imports are manufactured into wool products that stay in China and are purchased by Chinese consumers.  Upwards of 70% of global wool production finds its way into this market.  These are the main reasons for the current strong performance of fine wools.  Most leading Chinese textile companies are reporting an increase in domestic sales but a decrease in exports.  This underlines the huge growth potential for domestic sales within China as incomes continue to rise.

In terms of sustainability the key message to encourage consumers to choose wool continues to be that we have a natural fiber, renewable and biodegradable resource. 

In addition to challenging global climatic conditions the current USA / China trade conflict cannot be underestimated.  This escalating trade war remains a key risk to global economic activity and to global textile markets because of the uncertainty it is creating.  It has the potential to completely disrupt the supply chain and to lower consumer confidence which up to this point in time has been very high in most of the major wool consuming countries.  The present situation is that American raw wool, hides etc are now subject to a Chinese duty of 25%.  China accounts for 53% of all USA imports of wool clothing.

Although we have developed markets for Canadian wool in six countries, China will be our major export destination in 2018 for all wool types.  It does not appear that the new USMCA agreement will have any impact on Canadian

wool exports to USA, greasy wool is still rated duty free the same as the previous NAFTA agreement.  Our sales to USA will be lower this year because of the USA / China trade war, American mills have ample supply of wool that would otherwise be exported under normal wool trading conditions.

Our wool volume dropped approximately 4.3% during the 2017/18 wool marketing year but we are encouraged by recent Statistics Canada figures that indicate our sheep and lamb numbers have increased by 1.6% in 2018 compared to 2017, the first increase in 7 years.  However, the drought conditions experienced this year in several provinces has resulted in high feed prices that will likely result in some flock reductions or dispersals. 

The tough trading conditions for the broader wools in 2017/18 resulted in lower sales of almost 14.5% for Canadian wool compared to the previous fiscal year.  Conditions are somewhat improved during the current wool marketing season.  We have found much better selling opportunities compared to a year ago to our regular network of buyers and also some newly established customers.

Retail Business

The retail business of CCWG achieved better than projected results for the fiscal year ending February 28, 2018 and continues to grow.   Profitability was up at all locations with  overall sales increasing 9.2%  In terms of revenue ratio it is now almost 25% (wool) and 75% (retail).

2018 marks our 100th year in business which is a significant achievement.  Sincere appreciation is extended to all staff and directors for your efforts in helping CCWG reach this major milestone.  You are the company’s most valuable assets.  Of course we must recognize the support we receive from our loyal customers who are the reason we are still operating and growing the business today.  We are fully committed to building relationships with our customers based on the right product at the right price and delivered with exceptional customer service.

Best wishes to all for continued success.

Yours truly,
Eric Bjergso
General Manager


30th Nanjing Wool Market Conference and Wool Trade Fair 2018

Eric Bjergso, CCWG General Manager attended the 30th Nanjing Wool Market Conference and Wool Trade Fair on September 11th – 13th in Nanjing Jiangsu Province, China.
Over 500 delegates were registered from the Chinese and international wool trade.
Participants include growers, traders, primary processors, spinners, weavers and garment manufacturers. It provided an excellent opportunity for all international delegates to meet with China’s biggest wool buyers and processors, all in one place. Contracts were negotiated for 700,000 pounds of graded and objectively measured Canadian wool.

CCWG Wool Market and Business Update-2017

Written by CCWG Tuesday, January 2, 2018

CCWG Wool Market and Business Update – Fall 2017

During the 2016/17 wool marketing season there has been a very significant contrast comparing the fine and coarse wool markets. Fine wool has experienced solid global demand and record prices have been achieved for many wool types 22 micron and finer.  A number of factors can be attributed to this success including the positive international branding of Merino wool.  As well, new and innovative wool products such as double faced and fake fur fabrics being manufactured in China have created new consumers for wool and these products require significant quantities of fine wool to produce.  
The specifications for Chinese government uniforms including military, railway and postal etc have recently been changed to favour more fine wool content and huge quantities of wool are required for these contracts.  In China mills are currently focused on increasing productivity and product quality, they have also made significant capital investment in order to comply with new stringent government environmental regulations. 

The broader crossbred wool market has struggled the past 18 months and to this point in time has not been able to ride the coat tails of the rising fine wool market.  The main driver of price trends continues to be China, which in 2016/17 accounted for 63% of exports from the five major wool exporting countries.  Excess stocks of coarse wool products that had built up in China throughout the supply chain, from greasy wool through to finished fabric are slowly being consumed.  Current projections are a little more positive with predictions that demand and market prices for crossbred wool will soon start to improve.

The wool trade seems to be firmly committed to the need for further industry programs within the education, promotion and innovation fields.  The International Campaign for Wool is an excellent example of collaboration between all members of the supply chain including farmers, retailers, designers, manufacturers and consumers.  The objective of this organization is to promote the incredible benefits and versatility of wool which in turn supports many small businesses and farmers whose livelihoods depends on the wool industry.  The Dumfries House Wool Declaration is a 10 point declaration that has been developed whereby the global wool industry commits to protect the environment, to care about the welfare of sheep and to uphold the best possible practices in growing, trading, manufacturing and marketing wool fiber and its related textiles. 

In Canada our wool volume has slipped after many years of marginal growth, we hope that this is only a temporary situation.  This can be directly attributed to lower sheep numbers which may be mainly due to drought conditions and expensive feed in some provinces the previous year.  We continue our practice of orderly wool marketing throughout the year of our graded, value added, and objectively measured wool types.  Due to the recent weaker demand from China for coarser wool types we have reached out to develop new market opportunities for Canadian wool in Europe and the Middle East.  In addition to our wool sales in Canada, export destinations for Canadian wool currently include China, USA, Czech Republic, Egypt, Bulgaria and India.  Canadian wool enjoys an excellent reputation in these markets due to our consistent quality deliveries which is a credit to our wool grading staff.  Our Shareholder Wool Shipper Loyalty Reward Program (SWSLRP) continues again this year at the rate of 7 cents per pound to our shareholder / wool shipper consigners.  The annual dividend will be 7% for shareholders of record date December 31, 2016.

In September I again travelled to China along with Ontario Board member Gary Fox to participate in the Nanjing Wool Market Conference and International Trade Fair. Over 600 delegates participated which gave us an excellent opportunity to display Canadian Wool to the global wool trade.  Prior to the conference we travelled with our agent and visited numerous customers, successfully selling several containers of graded Canadian wool for prompt and forward shipment.

Retail Business

The retail division of CCWG continues to be a cornerstone of our business and now accounts for approximately 70% of our sales revenue.  It has been a good marriage between our wool and retail business since we began this diversification strategy a number of years ago.  Very positive results have enabled the company to record a profit that is ultimately used to grow our business and finance capital assets.  It is a testament to our staff ability and effort when you consider the highly competitive consumer market place that we operate within for both livestock supplies and clothing.  New product research and development along with improved website and ecommerce platforms are ongoing initiatives that we are committed to implementing.  In our livestock supplies division we currently face a situation whereby numerous pharmaceutical items are becoming restricted for veterinary only distribution.  This will be a challenge for our company to find replacement products and we will have to adapt to changing times.  I have no doubt that our management team are up to the task at hand and will find solutions to ensure our continued success.  The staff profit sharing plan that the company developed several years ago continues to achieve the desired results.  It instills a sense of ownership with our employees who can control their own destiny with the right effort and attitude.  Our objective has always been to create a positive working environment and to supply all the necessary tools so that success can be achieved with the appropriate performance.  Offering excellent customer service and going the extra mile is how we separate our business from the competition.  In any event, we are proving with this business model that everyone wins – our customers, the employee’s and the company.

Earlier today we celebrated the official grand opening of our new facility in Broxburn Business Park, Lethbridge County.  Our old property at 918-1st Avenue South in Lethbridge which has been sold had served us well since 1950, but the time was right to explore new opportunities.  We are really excited about growing our business in this new environment and our Lethbridge team is eager to get the job done at the earliest opportunity.  Expectations are high and we wish them every success.  

From a financial point of view we are pleased to report that the company has no debt on our balance sheet for any of the capital projects that have been undertaken and completed in recent years.  In addition to the Lethbridge project some of these include store renovations at Premier Choix Agricole, Real Wool Shop, CCWG Livestock Supplies and Equestrian Centre, and our satellite store at Kitchener/Waterloo.  A new storage warehouse was built at Carleton Place about five years to accommodate graded wool bales and our expanding Livestock Supplies business.  This has been achieved by making carefully calculated business decisions and adhering to a disciplined financial plan.  

Our sincere thanks again to all CCWG staff and directors for your efforts that are contributing to the success of our organization.  In 2018 we look forward to reaching a major milestone, 100 years in business and we thank our many loyal customers for their continued patronage.

Respectfully Submitted,

Eric Bjergso
General Manager