The theft of high-end Australian wool destined for China is under investigation, authorities said on Wednesday [4 October 2017], as customers end up with lower-grade produce in a scam threatening the industry’s reputation…Full Article: South China Morning Post Oct 2017

Key Point

  • In May 2017, law enforcement officials in Melbourne, Australia, began investigating complaints that high-quality wool was being switched out with lower-quality wool in Melbourne.

ChinaAg Comments

  • From July 2016 to June 2017, Australia produced 341,000 MTs of wool, of which 75% [~255,750 MTs] was exported to China.
  • In early 2017, the price of wool increased by 10% to USD 12.07 per kg. By August 2017, Australian wool prices reached a 20-year high.
  • In October 2014, China’s Ministry of Commerce noted that import quota for wool would remain at 287,000 MTs. The import quota for wool tops (i.e. semi-processed wool that is ready for spinning) would be 80,000 MTs.
  • In August 2014, Olam International announces it was shuttering their wool export division in Australia (Queensland Cotton) owing to poor profit margins and diminishing demand from China.
  • In March 2014, a senior Australian wool trader stated that China has been purchasing wool in good quantities for the past 3-4 years, but orders have slowed recently and has become “sluggish”.
  • In 2013, mainland China imported USD 1.8 billion worth of Australian wool (not card/combed) and USD 1.6 billion worth of cotton (not carded/combed).
  • From 2010 to 2013, Chinese (mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau) imports of wool (not card/combed, HS 5101) increased from 316,148 MTs to 347,329 MTs. In 2013, the largest supplier was Australia at 181,660 MTs, followed by New Zealand at 68,207 MTs. The next largest suppliers were South Africa, the UK, and Uruguay.

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