26 November, 2010

Commodities and Currencies

Happy Buy Nothing Day!  Or Black Friday, if you prefer.

The price of cotton has jumped recently, and anytime a commodity changes you can reasonably expect a change in the price of finished goods, clothes in this case.  I am interested to see what sort of impact this will have, whether anyone will turn to other fibres.

Currencies have also changed.  At the Virginia fiber festival last month, I told someone they could get a basic wooden spindle manufactured in New Zealand for sale at the vendors' tents for x number of dollars.  A fellow handspinner and spindle enthusiast pointed out that the price had changed, it had risen a lot in the last while, and she said it was because of the difference in exchange rates.

I think currency changes have the potential to give a competitive edge to domestic production of handspinning tools.  I hope the manufacturers in New Zealand and Europe will be able to continue exports, as they have good products.

We are fortunate, in this age of cheap imports and offshore manufacturing done with the cheapest labour, that fibre arts tool producers still operate in developed countries.  When I went shopping for a bicycle the other week at a local bike shop here in Virginia, I couldn't find anything in my price range that was manufactured domestically.  The salesman told me that as recently as a couple of years ago, you could find a $1000 bicycle for sale that was manufactured domestically, but now they start at $3000.  I was hoping to find something under $200, so I asked if used bikes were available.  He told me that bike shops only recondition and resell high-end used bicycles that are worth the labour needed to meet safety requirements and avoid liability.  I would hate for this to ever happen to fibre arts equipment like looms or spinning wheels.

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