It was a mixed week following last week’s weaker demand. Although demand was softer and prices were down, there was a more encouraging finish to the week.
There was a further easing in the market when sales opened in Melbourne on Tuesday, with 18.5 micron wools and finer AWEX MPGs down by 0.5 to 1.5%. The falls reduced as the micron got broader, with little or no change through the broader Merino and crossbred wools. There were further falls on Wednesday when all centers were selling. As on Tuesday, the finest micron wool were the most affected and the medium / broad Merinos and the crossbred wools were generally the least affected. The falls were greater in the North and the West, as they “caught up” with the previous day’s falls in the South.
Thursday’s sale started on a similar basis, but finished on a better note as demand strengthened towards the close of selling in the East, particularly for the medium and broader Merinos. A number of AWEX Regional MPGs finished up for the day, or unchanged. This was repeated in the West, where the WMI was up by 2¢ for the day.
The overall trend was similar to last week with the impact generally lessening as the micron got broader.
The EMI finished 143¢ (-11.7%) less than in the same week last year and is 11¢ (1%) higher than at the start of the season. The WMI is 136¢ (-10.9%) less than in the same week last year and is 31¢ (2.9%) higher than at the start of the season.
The EMI and WMI are both still above their pre-Christmas values of 1072¢ and 1095¢, respectively.
In other countries, sales are in recess in South Africa until next week. In New Zealand, Wool Services International quoted 34 to 35 micron crossbred wool as firm to 2% dearer in the North Island and 2 to 7% dearer in the South Island.
Among other fibres, last week’s sharp rises in cotton Futures were reversed this week, leaving their values around 0.5% above their values of two weeks ago. July Futures were down by 5.6% to close at 87.29 US¢; and December Futures were down by 2.2% to 86.55 US¢.
45,631 bales were on offer, compared with 42,310 bales last week. 10.6% were passed in, comprised of 8.0% in Sydney, 9.5% in Melbourne and 15.2% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 12.3% and 10.2%, respectively.
40,810 bales were cleared to the trade.
The year-to-date offering is now 12,956 bales more (+0.9%) than at the end of the same week last year (see table on the next page). This difference is expected to be maintained as the next two sales are both expected to be larger than sales in the same weeks last year.
The US exchange rate was relatively stable during the week; and withstood the challenge of the reactions in the Cypriot community to the conditions of the proposed “bail out” from the European Central Bank. There was an early strengthening of the A$ against the Euro, as the value of the Euro weakened in response to the Cypriot uncertainty.
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