The EU Wool Yarn Market Remains in the Doldrums

Textile Fibres June 21, 2018
Author: Anna Sergeeva
Market Analyst

IndexBox has just published a new report "EU: Yarn Of Wool - Market Report. Analysis And Forecast To 2025". Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The EU Wool Yarn Market Remains in the Doldrums

The EU yarn of wool market contracted to 122K tonnes in 2016. After a sharp fall over the period from 2008-2009, it experienced a gradual downward trend through 2016. In wholesale prices, the market amounted to €1,018M, a 3% reduction against the previous year (IndexBox estimates). An abrupt market decline from 2007-2009 was followed by a recovery attempt, which, however, then changed to a steady downward trend through 2016, with minor fluctuations being recorded in certain years.

Italy Consumed Approx. 38% of Wool Yarn in the EU 

Amongst the EU members, Italy (38%) and the UK (19%), followed, somewhat lagging behind, by Poland (6%), Germany (5%), Belgium and Romania (4%, each), the Netherlands, Portugal, Lithuania and the Czech Republic (3%, each), were the countries with the largest volumes of wool yarn consumption. The highest levels of per capita wool yarn consumption can be found in Lithuania (1.08 kg per year) and Italy (0.7 kg per year). Since consumption is already high, there hardly could be prerequisites for a sharp market growth. From 2007 to 2016, Italy (-9.7% per year) indicated a pronounced average decline in terms of per capita consumption, however, Lithuania (+1.5%) experienced measured growth. On the contrary, in Poland (0.16 kg per year), the levels of per capita consumption are relatively low and continue to grow moderately.

Production Fell to Its Lowest Level over the Analyzed Period

The production of wool yarn recorded a negative dynamic over the last few years. In 2016, EU wool yarn output decreased to the lowest level yet of 125K tonnes, falling with a CAGR of -6.1% per year over the last nine years. In value terms, it dropped to  €1,170M, which was 4% less than the previous year and resulted into a fall of 28% against the outset level.

The main wool yarn producer  -Italy - contracted its output notably The countries with the highest levels of production in 2016 were Italy (34%), Poland (12%), Lithuania (9%), the UK (8%), Romania (8%), the Czech Republic and Belgium (5%, each), which together accounted for 80% of total output. In the UK (-13.6% per year) and Italy (-10.2% per year), production declined notably from 2007 to 2016. Romania (+7.1%), Lithuania (+6.4%) and Poland (+1.0%) illustrated a positive dynamic over the same period. 

Trading in the Yarn of Wool Mainly Occurs between the EU members

Approx. 10% (based on tonnes) of imports in the total EU yarn of wool consumption was imported from non-EU countries and this share reduced by 4 percentage points from 2007. Despite this contraction, the EU continues to buy in some cheaper yarn of wool imports from abroad, mainly from India, China, Turkey and Thailand. Given that both the market and production remain sluggish, it is forecast that imports will also continue to decline. By contrast, intra-EU trade remains intensive - the intra-EU imports amounts to 86% of total imports, while foreign trade beyond the EU amounts to 14%. 

Italy, the UK, Germany and Belgium Constituted Major Importers of Wool Yarn

In 2016, the volume of total EU imports of wool yarn amounted to 94K tonnes; over the last four years it retained a relatively stable figure. In value terms, it totalled €1,228M in 2016. After a sharp drop over 2008-2009, it recovered by 2011, but then dropped again slightly; from 2013-2016, the market value indicated a slightly upward trend pattern, decelerating by the end of the period. Given the relatively stable volumes of imports, that increase was largely attributed to rising import prices.

The main destinations for yarn of wool imports were Italy (24% in 2016, in physical terms), the UK (+21%), Germany (14%) and Belgium (8%); the other countries lagged somewhat behind in terms of the volume of imports. From 2007-2016, the shares imported to Italy (+3 percentage points) and the UK (+5 percentage points) increased, while the shares of Germany (-2 percentage points) and Belgium (-6 percentage points) contracted over the same period. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.  

More than 14% of imports came from outside the Union. In 2016, the volume of extra-EU imports for yarn of wool stood at 12K tonnes, 8% less than the year before. India, China, Turkey and Thailand constituted the main suppliers of wool yarn from outside the EU.

Lithuania Emerged as a Major Exporter of Wool Yarn

The volume of total EU exports of wool yarn amounted to 109K tonnes in 2016. This figure remained relatively flat from 2012-2016, and far below its 2007 pre-crisis level. In value terms, it stood at 1,470M in 2016: an abrupt fall from 2008-2009 was followed by a recovery over the next two years, and then the market levelled off through to 2016, increasing slightly by the end of the period.

Italy (21% in 2016, in physical terms), Poland (10%), Lithuania (9%), Germany (9%), Belgium (8%) and the UK (8%) were the main suppliers of yarn of wool among the EU members, with a combined share of 65% of total exports in 2016. Lithuania emerged as the fastest growing supplier, with a CAGR of exports of +7.0% from 2007-2016. By contrast, Italy (-5.4% per year), Germany (-8.2% per year) and Belgium (-7.8% per year) indicated a pronounced contraction of exports over the same period, while exports from Poland and the UK remained relatively stable. Consequently, Lithuania significantly strengthened its position in terms of the total European exports, from 4% in 2007, to 9% in 2016, while the shares of Italy, Germany and Belgium each contracted by the same extent.  The shares of the other countries remained relatively unchanged.

Only approx. 14% of exports were sent outside the Union. In 2016, the volume of extra-EU exports for yarn of wool amounted to 15K tonnes, 8% less than the previous year. China, the U.S., Turkey, Norway, Switzerland and Tunisia remain major export markets for European wool yarn.

Do you want to know more about the European woolen yarn market? Get the latest trends and insight from our report. It includes a wide range of statistics on

  • woolen yarn market share
  • woolen yarn prices
  • woolen yarn industry
  • woolen yarn sales
  • woolen yarn import
  • woolen yarn export
  • woolen yarn market forecast
  • woolen yarn price forecast
  • key woolen yarn producers

Source: EU: Yarn Of Wool - Market Report. Analysis And Forecast To 2025