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Pleasing sales in Aussie wool market
Dec '11
Australian Wool Industries Secretariat Inc (AWIS) releases wool sale report for the week ending 16th December 2011.

The Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) Regional Indicators finished 2.2% higher, on average, in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the US exchange rate fell by 3.6%. These were the last sales prior to the three week Christmas break.

The market stated slowly on Tuesday, but gained strong momentum on Wednesday after reports of sales to China, and later sales in Europe. The upward movement continued on Thursday, when only the South sold. It was a pleasing finish prior to the three week Christmas break. The fall in the US exchange rate was helpful in a week of low global economic confidence.

The Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) has finished the first half of the season at 1189¢, 158¢ higher than in the same week last year. The season average of 1233¢ is 302¢ higher than the season average at the end of Week 24 last year.

The bigger rise in the Western Indicator was associated with increases of 36¢ and 53¢, respectively in the 18.0 and 18.5 AWEX Micron Price Guide (MPGs) in Fremantle on Tuesday.

45,108 bales were on offer, compared with 50,304 bales last week. 12.2% were passed in, comprised of 11.7% in Sydney, 10.7% in Melbourne and 18.9% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 9.2% and 12.8%, respectively. 39,604 bales were cleared to the trade.

The year-to-date offering is 24,267 bales less (-2.5%) than at the end of the same week last year (see table on the next page). It was encouraging to see the differences in the order of -15% in weekly offerings during November come back to -4.7% in the first two weeks of December.

The New Zealand Merino Company also offered 1,287 bales in Melbourne on Wednesday, of which 28.3% were passed in.

As expected, exchange rates over the last week were strongly influenced by perceptions of the outcomes from last week's EU Summit. It was agreed to impose measures to reduce Eurozone debt at the Summit.

But, the reactions of financial markets around the world have reflected a lack of confidence in Europe's ability to achieve the Summit's aims. The associated fall in global economic confidence saw the US exchange rate fall by 3.6% since last Thursday, as currency again left Australia for the “safe havens”.

Rises were seen across all Merino micron ranges and types, with most average AWEX Micron Price Guide (MPGs) up by 2.5% to 4.0%. It was particularly good to see a strong performance at the Superfine end this week.

As can be seen in the following table, the medium and broader Merino wools have done best when compared with the start of the season and with 12 months ago. The market is down from its previous very high levels, but, it is still at very good levels in historic terms.

All of this has been achieved during four months of great financial concern in Europe and some significant volatility in the market.

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