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WOOL PRICES LINKED TO THE WORLD ECONOMY

SHARE WOOL PRICES LINKED TO THE WORLD ECONOMY

The president of the 115,000-member American Sheep Industry said this week the industry is hoping for a calmer international scene to help the price of wool.

"The Eastern bloc in Europe, China and the rest of the world have to get their house in order economically before we can see an increase," Bill Schneemann said in an interview with United Press International.Schneemann, Big Lake, Texas, was in Salt Lake City for the Utah Wool Growers annual convention.

He said since wool is traded as a world commodity, any unrest internationally and fluctuations in currency exchange rates affect producers all over the country.

Although he declined to "crystal ball-gaze" into the next decade, Schneemann predicted near-term lamb prices rising next year. He said, however, consumers should see little change.

"The typical lamb consumer doesn't seem to object to the price changes," he said. "They are loyal and inelastic and are going to eat lamb because it's a premium product."

Schneemann downplayed wool competition from natural and synthetic fibers, saying "people are tired of polyester, which is not as durable and stylish.

"As long as the economy is good in the United States and people are more fashion-conscious, they will continue to buy what I refer to as the `finer product.' "