For Australian wool, the outlook is also promising. While the world’s flock is increasing, its focus is on sheep meat, limiting wool supply. This has led to export opportunities including in China where wool imports have risen from around 200,000 tonnes in the early 2000s to more than 350,000 tonnes in recent years.
Growing interest in natural fibres over synthetics among Asia’s middle-class is also expected to maintain strong demand for Australian wool - particularly for fine apparel sub 24.5 micron wool.
However, there a number of challenges ahead for the industry however, despite the rosy outlook. Changing consumer trends, including a potential preference for grain finished meat, health concerns regarding red meat consumption and the wider availability of alternative proteins in major export markets, could pose some risk.