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AWEX Regional Indicators finishes 4.3% lower
Aug '11
The AWEX Regional Indicators finished 4.3% lower, on average, at the first sales after the mid-year break in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week. The US exchange rate fell by 3.5% since the last sale.

58,531 bales were on offer, compared with 58,893 bales at the last sale. 18.7% were passed in, comprised of 16.8% in Sydney, 17.5% in Melbourne and 28.2% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 23.8% and 10.1%, respectively 47,565 bales were cleared to the trade.

The dramatic global financial events of the last two weeks have seen the US exchange rate range from under parity during the day this week to over 110¢ only two weeks ago. The RBA closing rate has varied over a 9.8¢ range during the last two weeks.

The familiar position of a fall in the US exchange rate being associated with a fall in economic circumstances in the United States has been seen again, as funds move from Australia to the safe havens of gold, US Treasury Bonds, the Swiss Franc and the Yen. Financial commentators also attribute some of the fall in the exchange rate to concerns about commodity prices and that there is now a greater expectation of a fall in the Australian cash rate later this year.

The fall in the exchange rate provided a significant buffer against some of fall in wool prices. The AWEX EMI fell by 112¢ in US currency since the last sale in Week 02 compared with a 59¢ fall in Australian currency.

The market fell away on Tuesday, as was expected, given the worst global financial circumstances since the onset of the GFC in September 2008 and the large offering. A late increase in the offering was attributed to grower concerns about the possible ongoing impact of the world circumstances on the market.

All Merino micron ranges and types came under strong pressure on Tuesday when the AWEX EMI was down by 56¢ in Australian currency and by 121¢ in US currency. Some levelling was seen on Tuesday, with some good gains in non-fleece types, followed by a generally softer finish on Thursday when the EM fell by a further 10¢ and the pass-in rate rose to 21.9% (35.9% in the West).

The greater impact on fleece types was reflected in a pass-in rate of 23.8% for the week compared with a 10.1% pass-in rate for skirtings.

Prices for skirtings softened on Tuesday, but made significant gains on Wednesday, with good demand for all types. Demand was more mixed on Thursday, with prices easing slightly in the North, but generally holding in the South and the West. Crossbred wool prices also eased on Tuesday, but to a lesser extent than the Merino types. This was followed by some good gains on Wednesday and Thursday, leading to the only gains for the week in the 28, 30 and 32 AWEX average MPGs (see next page). Oddments fell back sharply on Tuesday, made gains on Wednesday, but eased again on Thursday except in the West.

Buyers for China were dominant with strong buying support from Europe, India and Taiwan. Trade reports from Europe last week were of expected strong demand.

Sales will be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle next week, when 47,936 bales are currently rostered for sale. Present estimates for the following two sales (Weeks 08 and 09) are 36,187 and 43,700 bales, respectively; an increase of 17.3% over the three sale period when compared with last year.

Sales are in recess in South Africa until next week.

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Australian Wool Industries Secretariat Inc

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