High wool prices lead to Indian move to man-made fibres
As international wool prices have risen by up to 180 percent over the past two years, the Indian market has faced a dilemma as businesses have been unable to pass this increase on to customers leading to a move to man-made fibres.
There has been a decrease in wool production in Australia, the world’s largest wool producer, caused by drought. This has caused the price of wool to increase and the President of Shawl Club Amritsar, Piara Lal Seth¸ has reported that wool used in the shawl industry has risen by around Rs 600 ($8) per kilogram. This has put a strain on India’s wool garment industry as margins are far slimmer but consumers will not accept any further price increases on finished garments.
China, the world’s largest wool buyer, is also experiencing increased demand which, coupled with Australia’s dwindling supply, has led to further price increases. Moreover, as many Chinese goods are now being circumvented through Bangladesh to avoid anti-dumping duty, further strain has been placed on the Indian market.
One response to this situation is that some businesses are opting for manmade fibres instead of natural wool. Prashant Jain, the head of sales and marketing at Indoworth India, a worsted fabric maker of the Lohia Group, told ET Bureau: “The wool prices have jumped, but Indian consumers are not ready to pay for the price rise and thus manufacturers are using more manmade fibre.”
Polyester viscose is becoming a popular alternative to polyester wool as margins are higher for Indian businesses. Indian businesses are now searching for a way to not fall behind Bangladesh in the wool garment manufacturing market and dealing with the fibre’s rising costs.
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