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Wool market closes with marginal growth in last week
Feb '09
The Australian wool market finished 0.5% higher, on average, at sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week.

The AWEX EMI rose by 2¢ (+0.3%), ending the week at 743¢/kg. This reflected an unchanged Indicator in the North and an increase of 4¢ (+0.6%) in the South, with their corresponding Regional Indicators finishing the week at 769¢ and 722¢ clean, respectively. The Western Indicator rose by 6¢ (+0.8%), finishing the week at 718¢.

In a two day sale in Sydney and Melbourne, the AWEX EMI fell by 2¢ on Wednesday and rose by 4¢ on Thursday. The Western Indicator rose by 5¢ on Wednesday and by 1¢ on Thursday in a two day sale in Fremantle.

47,604 bales were on offer, compared with 44,090 bales last week, of which 8.7% were passed in, comprised of 6.5% in Sydney, 6.4% in Melbourne and 14.6% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 10.2% and 7.4%, respectively. 2,017 bales (4.1%) were withdrawn prior to sale and re-offered bales made up 16.9% of this week's offering.

The US exchange rate (source RBA) was 2.82¢ lower on Monday when compared with Thursday of last week. History suggests that the fall was related to the expected fall in official interest rates when the Reserve Bank met on Tuesday. The fall turned out to be 1.0% taking interest rate (3.25%) to a 45 year low. The US exchange rate was then up by 0.64¢ on Tuesday, by 0.93¢ on Wednesday and down by 0.40¢ on Thursday to close at 64.37¢, down 1.65¢ (-2.5%) since the last sale. The exchange rate against the Euro fell by 0.16 Euro cents (-0.3%) to close at 50.14 Euro cents on Thursday night. When looked at in other currencies, the AWEX EMI moved down by 11¢ (-2.2%) in US terms and was unchanged in Euro terms when compared with the previous sale.

Although prices were down in US currency, it was a good market with a stronger presence from China and the market holding its own in US currency (and up in A Dollars) on Thursday to finish on a strong note.

Changes in the Average AWEX Micron Price Guides (MPGs) for Merino wools varied from -0.8% (17.0 microns) to +1.5% (22.0 microns) with falls confined to the 17.0 to 18.0 micron range and all other changes being upwards. Average MPGs were down by 9¢ for 17.0 microns, by 4¢ for 17.5 microns, by 6¢ for 18.0 microns, up by 4¢ for 18.5 microns, by 4¢ for 19.0 microns and by 1¢ for 19.5 microns. The 20.0 micron wool average MPG was up by 6¢ clean, 21.0 microns by 10¢, 22.0 microns by 11¢, 23.0 microns by 9¢, and 24.0 microns by 2¢.

Merino skirtings were once again in keen demand with a general upward movement in prices. Crossbreds also had a good week with their average MPGs up by around 3¢ at the fine end, 7¢ for medium types and 11¢ for coarse crossbreds. Oddments had a mixed week with the Merino Cardings average MPG finishing up by 1¢.

Buyers for China again dominated this week's sales with support from India.

Sales will be held in Sydney, Melbourne, Launceston and Fremantle next week, when 50,807 bales are currently rostered for sale. Present estimates for the following two sales are 50,440 and 50,000 bales, respectively. A decrease of 3.8% over the three sale period when compared with last year. In the South, next week's Melbourne sale (22,283 bales) will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday and the Launceston sale (1,750 bales) will be held on Friday.

In South African sales, where 8,607 bales were on offer, the Cape Wools Indicator was down by 6.3% since last week against a 0.9% depreciation of the Rand against the US Dollar and a 1.4% appreciation against the Euro.

AWTA test data released this week showed that 19.8% less wool was tested in January taking the progressive figure to 9.3% compared with the current Production Forecasting Committee estimate of -7.5%.

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI)

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