Prices have continued rising during the first quarter mainly as a result of domestic demand in China which has also overspilt to greasy markets in Mongolia, Afghanistan and Iran.
Very little good quality material remaining from last season. The new clip is not yet available but will start with coarser Liaoning quality next month and best Inner Mongolia quality early May. It has been widely reported in the media that prices have increased due to animal fatalities as a result of the severe winter weather. This is not strictly true as the winter in China has been relatively mild but many herdsmen slaughtered animals last autumn to avoid costly winter feed and to take advantage of high meat prices. Generally US$100-150 per goat/sheep. Even with today’s high greasy prices of US$60-70 per kilo each animal will only net around US$20 per year for cashmere. China expects the new clip to start at current prices and increase through the summer.
Similar situation to China regarding meat values and extensive snow in rural areas which also encouraged herdsmen to slaughter. The new clip is just becoming available at prices similar or slightly higher than recent levels with strong demand.
AFGHAN / IRANIAN
Prices driven to record levels which I cannot recall being exceeded during the last 30 years. This is mainly through Chinese demand for raw material.
New clip will not be available until late April / early May when prices are expected to remain firm in line with China/Mongolia. In the meantime little or no material remains from last season.
Demand and prices have risen in line with cashmere prices. At the moment there is reasonable availability at higher levels and new clip will not be available until late summer.
It becomes difficult to pass on increasing replacement prices for western manufacturers and Chinese exporters. However Chinese domestic sales seem able to cope with current prices which are something we shall have to live with for the foreseeable future.