The plight of the lambswool wash mitt & how commodities markets affect the detailing world

Lambswool wash mittOf the items that dropped through our letterbox yesterday was a price update from one of our suppliers. There weren’t too many shocks and surprises in it – except one – the trade price of the lambswool wash mitt had increased by 50% – over 10 times  the current rate of inflation! This reminded me of a graph I had seen recently from PJ over at Dodo Juice which showed a similar trend to that of the Australian fine wool prices shown below:

Wool prices and affect on lambswool wash mitts
Source: International Monetary fund via indexmundi

So what has caused this massive increase in prices during 2011? Research shows that even as far back as 2009 the price of wool was increasing inNew Zealand, one of the worlds leading producers and continued into 2010. There are number of factors that seem to have combined to cause these increases. At the same time as seeing a reduction in production of wool in New Zealand other places in the world, there has also been substantial efforts made by the wool industry to promote the use of wool which has resulted in increase demand from consumers for wool based products. I certainly know from our own experience in sourcing the pure wool and lambswool wash mitts that we supply, that things have been tough out there, with a couple of the mitts we have supplied for many years having not been available for several months. This being due to the manufacturer having not been able to source the pelts at competitve prices. Some larger producers have been more fortunate having been able to source significant quantities ahead of the large price rises – how long this will last only the manucaturers know and it will be interesting to see what happens in the new year with the annual price reviews. Even though the graph above shows a recent softening of prices, if the results of the increases in the lat 12 months is only just filtering through to some mitt producers then it is unlikely we will see a reverse of this for some time to come.

If you have been considering changing your mitt or buying a lambswool wash mitt as a present someone, now may be a good time to do it.

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