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Wool prices increase in first sale of 2013
Jan '13
The AWEX Regional Indicators finished 4.0% higher, on average, when sales resumed in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week.  The closing US exchange rate was unchanged from the closing rate when sales went into the Christmas break.

Looking at AWIS’s database indicates that the EMI has risen in the first sale in January in 13 of the 14 years since the 1999/00 season when AWIS was formed.  The largest gain was 121¢ in January 2011 when the market started its rise to 1436¢ in June of that year.

The market followed on from its firm close prior to Christmas with a strong opening in Melbourne on Tuesday, when the AWEX Southern Indicator rose by 20¢.  There were rises across all wool types and micron ranges, with the greatest gains from 19.5 to 23 microns.

The rises continued on Wednesday, when the North and the South commenced selling.  The Southern Indicator rose by a further 11¢, taking the rise in the EMI to 29¢ for the two days.   The WMI rose by 47¢ in Fremantle.  This was partly due to the WMI only including wools from 18 to 22 microns.  These wools had made the greatest gains in Sydney and Melbourne.

Continued strong demand resulted in a further increase of 10¢ in the EMI and 4¢ in the WMI on Thursday.  The week finished with gains of over 3% in the AWEX MPGs from 17.5 to 24.0 microns and gains of 4% (or just under 4%) from 18.5 to 24.0 microns.

This week’s gains have taken the EMI to over 1100¢ for the first time this season; and have brought the EMI and WMI closer to, but still less than, their corresponding values 12 months ago.  The EMI is 105¢ (-8.6%) less than in the same week last year and is 41¢ (3.8%) higher than at the start of the season.  The WMI is 70¢ (-5.8%) less than in the same week last year and is 70¢ (6.5%) higher than at the start of the season.

In other countries, the same gains were not seen in South Africa where the Cape Wools Indicator was down by 0.8% since last sale against a 2.6% appreciation of the Rand against the US Dollar and a 2.6% appreciation against the Euro.

Among other fibers, cotton Futures fluctuated during the break, but were relatively unchanged from the last wool sale on Friday.  March Futures closed at 75.62 US¢, up by 0.7%.  July Futures closed at 77.41 US¢, up by 0.7%.

52,063 bales were on offer, compared with 54,165 bales at the last sale.  3.8% were passed in, comprised of 2.9% in Sydney, 2.8% in Melbourne and 7.1% in Fremantle.  Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirting’s were 3.4% and 3.1%, respectively.

50,059 bales were cleared to the trade.

The continuing larger sales have further reduced the difference in offerings between this year and last year.  The year-to-date offering is now 18,752 bales less (-1.9%) than at the end of the same week last year (see table on the next page).  The difference will fall to around 1% over the next three sales if the expected quantities are achieved.

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