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Fine wool prices holds up well in Newcastle
Mar '09
The Australian wool market finished 0.5% lower, on average, at sales in Newcastle, Melbourne and Fremantle this week.

The AWEX EMI fell by 3¢ (-0.4%), ending the week at 722¢/kg. This reflected a rise of 2¢ (+0.3%) in the North and a decrease of 4¢ (-0.6%) in the South, with their corresponding Regional Indicators finishing the week at 752¢ and 700¢ clean, respectively. The Western Indicator fell by 8¢ (-1.1%), finishing the week at 694¢.

In a three day sale in Newcastle and a two day sale in Melbourne, the AWEX EMI was unchanged on Tuesday, fell by 4¢ on Wednesday and rose by 1¢ on Thursday. The Western Indicator fell by 7¢ on Wednesday and by 1¢ on Thursday in a two day sale in Fremantle.

49,575 bales were on offer, compared with 49,278 bales last week, of which 9.3% were passed in, comprised of 4.4% in Newcastle, 9.7% in Melbourne and 15.2% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 11.0% and 8.5%, respectively. 1,637 bales (3.2%) were withdrawn prior to sale and re-offered bales made up 14.9% of this week's offering.

The US exchange rate (source RBA) was 0.61¢ higher on Monday when compared with Thursday of last week. It was then down by 0.36¢ on Tuesday, up by 0.57¢ on Wednesday and down by 0.11¢ on Thursday to close at 65.02¢, up 0.71¢ (+1.1%) since the last sale. The exchange rate against the Euro fell by 0.05 Euro cents (-0.1%) to close at 51.05 Euro cents on Thursday night. When looked at in other currencies, the AWEX EMI moved up by 3¢ (+0.6%) in US terms and was down by 1¢ (-0.3%) in Euro terms when compared with the previous sale.

It was a steady week, with little change across all Merino micron ranges in either Australian or United States currency. Fine wool prices held up well in Newcastle with a bigger offering available to the trade. The week also saw greater buying activity from a number of firms who have been less prominent in recent weeks.

Changes in the Average AWEX Micron Price Guides (MPGs) for Merino wools varied from -0.9% (19.0 and 19.5 microns) to +1.3% (16.5 microns) with little difference across the micron ranges. Average MPGs were up by 16¢ clean for 16.5 microns, by 1¢ for 17.0 microns, by 5¢ for 17.5 microns, down by 5¢ for 18.0 microns, by 7¢ for 18.5 microns, by 8¢ for 19.0 microns and by 7¢ for 19.5 microns. The 20.0 micron wool average MPG was down by 4¢ clean, 21.0 microns by 6¢, 22.0 microns by 1¢, 23.0 microns was up by 1¢, and 24.0 microns by 1¢

Prices for Merino skirtings were mixed early in the week, but finished with an upward movement in the better types. Crossbreds fared well, with an upward movement in all average MPGs other than for 28 micron wool where the MPG eased by 3¢. Oddments were in keen demand again with an 8¢ (+1.6%) rise in the Merino Cardings average MPG.

Buyers for China dominated this week's sales, with support from India and Europe. Buyers for Italy, although active in Newcastle were more subdued than normal at these sales, leaving China as the largest buyer there.

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