Mongolia, a leading supplier for global cashmere, has seen demand for its luxury fibers plummet during the coronavirus pandemic. Sales fell near 70 percent as Chinese traders and Western shoppers have been isolated and businesses and factories closed.
Khatant International, a Mongolian wool processor, said clients have been cancelling order across the board. Gobi Cashmere, Mongolia’s largest fiber processor, took swift cost-saving measures as the crisis went global, cutting 10 percent of its workforce.
Currently over 40 percent of the world’s cashmere originates from Mongolia, but the country’s herders, traders and processors depend on Chinese buyers who purchase more than 80 percent of their wool for further processing into sweaters, scarves and other clothes.
The country trades approximately 265 million euros of cashmere annually, processing only 15 percent of cashmere domestically; the remaining 85 percent is exported. The primary global destination of processed cashmere is Italy.