Good week for the fine wools
The AWEX Regional Indicators finished 0.1% lower, on average, at sales in Newcastle, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the US exchange rate fell by 0.2%.
The market continued in the steadier pattern of the previous two weeks. The closing EMI was down by 0.2% this week, following the 0.3% fall in Week 15 and the 2.4% fall in Week 14. The EMI, although down by 14.9% since the start of the season, is 24.8% above the same week last year.
43,416 bales were on offer, compared with 40,969 bales last week. 13.1% were passed in, comprised of 15.2% in Newcastle, 12.0% in Melbourne and 12.8% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 16.0% and 6.3%, respectively. 37,719 bales were cleared to the trade.
The New Zealand Merino Company also offered 2,045 bales in Melbourne on Wednesday of which 28.2% were passed in.
Differences between the size of the offerings this year and last year have begun to change. This year's early season offerings were well above last year. They were up figure 13.3% after Week 12. The difference has now fallen to plus 9.9% on a progressive basis; and this week's offering was down by 2.7% from last year.
The early season differences were due to the impact of rain delayed shearings in the first three months of last season. There were fewer wet weather interruptions to this year's shearings. The subsequent “catch up” last year in the period from October up to Christmas means that the year-on-year progressive differences will gradually become smaller over the next few weeks.
The US exchange rate has followed an “up one day, down the next” pattern this week, as money markets reacted to varying economic data and sentiment. The major factor over-hanging the global economic scene this week is uncertainty about the outcomes will come from this weekend's meeting of European leaders to address the EU debt problems.
The sale started on a downward note on Tuesday following the softer finish to last week's sale. Falls occurred across all micron ranges in the South, but were less so among the fine wools in Newcastle.
Wednesday's market saw an improvement in confidence and the sale finished with a 1% lift in the AWEX EMI, despite downward pressure from 17 to 18 microns. The greater strength in the market continued on Thursday, but more so in the South and the West, where the Regional Indicators rose by 15¢ and 16¢ respectively and gains of 20¢ to 30¢ occurred in some individual AWEX MPGs.
Overall, it was a good week for the fine wools, given the market pressure at that end of the clip this season and the large quantity of fine wool on offer this week.
Skirtings opened on Tuesday on a steady, or slightly downwards market, but firmed up on Wednesday. Demand was generally good, but was greatest for the lower VM types. This continued into Thursday's sales when strong competition led to a further upward movement in prices. The solid demand resulted in a low pass-in rate of 6.3% for the week.