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4th March 2008

Wool consumption brief: China

With China's continuing positive economic conditions and GDP growth in 2007 higher than forecasters expected, China's consumers also lifted their spending. In textiles, the volume of apparel retail sales rose very strongly in the 11 months to November 2007 while interior textiles retail sales were similarly buoyant over the same period.

Given this, demand for wool apparel and textiles in China would be expected to rise quickly. A monthly survey of major department stores in China suggests that retail sales of the main wool-type products (men's suits, jackets and interior textiles) rose strongly in volume terms in 2007. However, the latest estimates of wool consumption at retail in China (as measured by Woolmark's Net Domestic Availability estimate) show a very mixed picture.

Total wool consumption at retail in China lifted moderately in 2007, but all of this rise was due to higher consumption of wool in interior textiles. In fact, wool use in interior textiles in China's domestic market was the highest on record in 2007.

In contrast, demand for wool in clothing in China stagnated in 2007. Despite the weak result in the domestic market for apparel wool, China's processing of apparel wool lifted in 2007 on the back of strong export demand for finished wool garments.

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© The Woolmark Company 2008

For more Market Intelligence, visit Woolmark.info.

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