Soft Market for Cashmere Takes Toll in China

Western consumers are buying fewer luxury goods, and demand for cashmere has plunged, The New York Times reported. The painful effects of this are being felt all the way to these nearly empty plateaus of Inner Mongolia, by goatherds and factory workers and owners — showing how ripples from markets in the United States, Europe and Japan can reverberate to some of the most remote corners of the world. The problem is not just the collapse of the cashmere market, but also a government ban on Kashmir goats across much of Inner Mongolia for environmental reasons. Hungry goats with sharp hooves have denuded arid plateaus and broken up the soil, contributing to dust storms that fill the sky in Beijing and other cities in northeastern China. Yarn factories are suffering too. Business has shrunk at the Tiaje Cashmere Company’s factory—this is supposed to be the annual surge of production, from June to September, to accommodate the autumn retailing season in the West. Muren, the owner and general manager, who also has only one name, differs with some economists, saying that he sees little sign of a nascent recovery in the United States. “Our American and European customers say the situation is terrible,” he said. Read more.