The gross value of Australian wool exports is forecast to increase to $3.4 billion in 2021-22, up by 28 per cent year-on-year as a result of increased consumer spending in advanced economies. The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resources Economics and Sciences’ December update also forecast the Eastern Market Indicator could increase 16 per cent to 1390c/kg clean in 2021-22. The Eastern Market Indicator has so far averaged 1353c/kg during the current wool selling year, which starts in July and ends in June the following calendar year, after averaging 1199c/kg in the 2020-21 year. Wool exports cracked through the $3 billion benchmark for the first time in 2002-03, to reach $3.3 billion. The report also found higher export prices and higher production volumes would help bolster the value of wool exports, with a price spike driven by increased demand woollen products from advanced economies including the US, European Union, Japan and Korea. Australian wool export volumes surged 62 per cent between July and September, year-on-year, despite higher freight costs. However, the energy crisis affecting parts of China was expected to impact processing capacity and slow demand for Australian wool, but there are positive signs as the crisis eases and Chinese processors return to Australian wool auctions. Chinese consumers were expected to remain more cautious in their spending, after apparel sales in China fell about 5 per cent year-on-year in August and September last year. The report also forecast an increase in shorn wool production in Australia, up 8 per cent to 315,000 tonnes in 2021-22 with wool cut set to increase to 4.58kg per head. Favourable climatic conditions in eastern Australia were expected to continue, with the formation of another La Nina event in November last year supporting pasture growth for the months ahead. Recovering wool prices are bringing producers and their stock to market, with the number of wool bales offered across Australia jumping 30.5 per cent between July and October, leading to increased exports.