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Australian wool market – AWI Commentary

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The market downturn of the past two weeks seems to have halted across most types on offer this week at Australian wool auctions. Weak market conditions were witnessed initially on the first day of selling, but this was quickly followed by a solid consolidation. Prices then commenced to rise towards the close, particularly across the FNF (Free to Nearly Free – less than 1% vegetable matter) Merino fleece wools of all qualities.

Cardings remained in a negative trend though, but the rapid falls of past sales were largely contained to relatively minor daily losses. The AWEX EMI (Australian Wool Exchange- Eastern Market Indicator) registered a 6ac clean/kg reduction for the week to close at 1738 ac clean/kg. In USD the EMI remained fully firm at the same level of 1398usc clean kg.

The market this week reflected more-so the operations of local buyers and reactions from overseas manufacturers almost immediately followed this stronger lead. Quite often the sale rooms are not the best identifier of global demand trends, but this week the positive sentiment of continuing and strong demand for Merino was borne out through that means.

Whilst China has been relatively quiet in enquiry and new business, other wool-buying destinations took the opportunity at the lower levels to execute some inventory purchasing. Operations appeared to return by weeks-end though as Chinese enquiry ramped up to normal levels.

Some significant moves in the market were recorded this week but not necessarily published. In a very small offering of ultra fine Merino (finer than 16.6 micron) an extraordinary gain of around 160ac clean/kg was made. A strong order from a high quality mill in China ensured those levels, giving intense competition and quite often outbidding the Italian orders, albeit in a very low volume scenario.

Generally speaking, the Merino fleece markets appreciated by around 20ac clean/kg whilst the skirtings were largely unchanged to slightly dearer in a very turbulent sale week. Crossbred and comeback types registered small losses but encouragingly were rising at the close. Cardings disappointed again by retreating 35ac, but this a far better result than the heavy losses seen for carding wools last week. Improving market sentiment from the Merino fleece sector is likely to flow into the upcoming sales as demand signals get clearer once again.

The next 3 weeks sees around 40,000 bales being rostered to sell weekly, which is significant in that it is around 10% less than that offered through February of last year.

Source: AWI

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