Last week’s prices were affected by a combination of weaker demand and an increase in the US exchange rate. It was disappointing after the good market in the previous week, when the EMI was up by 7¢ in a 54,000 bale offering.
The market eased in all centres when selling commenced on Wednesday, with the greatest easing around 18 to 20 microns in the East and from 18 to 22 microns in the West. The fall in the WMI was greater than those in the Eastern Indicators, but the WMI was coming off a higher base from the week before, when it had lifted by 20¢ and the EMI rose by 7¢.
The market further weakened on Thursday, with falls across all Merino micron ranges. Most AWEX MPGs fell by 2.0 to 2.5%. By contrast, crossbred MPGs all gained or were relatively unchanged. The seller reaction was strong and the pass-in rate moved up, particularly so in Fremantle where 27% of the offering was passed in on Thursday.
The overall downward movements were greatest from 17.5 to 19.0 microns, where week- to-week changes in the average MPGs ranged from 3 to 4%.
The EMI is 142¢ (-11.5%) less than in the same week last year and is 27¢ (2.5%) higher than at the start of the season. The WMI is 148¢ (-11.7%) less than in the same week last year and is 41¢ (3.8%) higher than at the start of the season.
The difference between this season and last season in the EMI and the WMI has widened over the last few sales, after it had narrowed in January. This is mostly due to a lift in the market at this time last year.
In other countries, the South African Cape Wools Indicator was up by 1.9% since last sale two weeks ago against a 1.7% depreciation of the Rand against the US Dollar. In New Zealand, Wool Services International quoted mid-micron wool (26 to 28 microns) as firm to 7% dearer and fine crossbreds (32 to 35 microns) as firm to 3% dearer.
Among other fibres, cotton Futures moved up sharply during the week, particularly for May and July which rose by 6.5% to 92.50 US¢ and by 5.9% to 92.76 US¢ respectively. . December Futures closed at 88.51 US¢, up by 2.5%.
42,310 bales were on offer, compared with 54,346 bales last week. 11.9% were passed in, comprised of 7.3% in Sydney, 10.6% in Melbourne and 19.6% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 16.0% and 7.9%, respectively.
37,254 bales were cleared to the trade.
The year-to-date offering is now 10,581 bales more (+0.8%) than at the end of the same week last year (see table on the next page); and is expected to continue to rise over the two sales up to Easter.
The US exchange rate eased slightly at the start of the week, but followed this with three successive days of rises that took it over 103¢ for the first time since mid-February. Financial analysts attributed the early falls to good US employment data that led to a strengthening of the US Dollar. The rises from Tuesday on were attributed to good local consumer confidence data on Tuesday and better than expected Australian employment data on Thursday.
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