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Wool market climbs marginally higher
Dec '09
The Australian wool market finished 0.4% higher, on average, at sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the exchange rate against the US$ fell by 1.6%.

The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) rose by 7¢ (+0.8%), ending the week at 879¢/kg. This reflected rises of 4¢ (+0.4%) in the North and 11¢ (+1.3%) in the South, with their corresponding Regional Indicators finishing the week at 905¢ and 858¢ clean, respectively. The Western Indicator fell by 4¢ (-0.5%), finishing the week at 876¢.

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

44,218 bales were on offer, compared with 46,371 bales last week, of which 7.2% were passed in, comprised of 6.2% in Sydney, 4.0% in Melbourne and 15.2% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 8.2% and 3.3%, respectively. 2,056 bales (4.4%) from the expected offering of 46,274 bales were withdrawn prior to sale and re-offered bales made up 8.1% of the final offering. 41,049 bales were cleared to the trade.

The US exchange rate (source RBA) was 0.33¢ lower on Monday when compared with Thursday of last week. It was then up by 0.35¢ on Tuesday, down by 1.45¢ on Wednesday to close at 89.93¢, down 1.43¢ (-1.6%) since the last sale. The exchange rate against the Euro fell by 0.24 Euro cents (-0.4%) to close at 61.86 Euro cents on Wednesday night. When looked at in other currencies, the AWEX EMI moved down by 7¢ (-0.9%) in US terms and was up by 2¢ (+0.4%) in Euro terms when compared with the previous sale.

The 1.6% fall in the US exchange rate on Wednesday appears due to both a strengthening of the US currency and an expectation that official interest rates in Australia will not rise to the levels which economic analysts thought would happen in the medium term.

The market finished on a strong note with good competition in the sale rooms and strong demand across all types and across nearly all micron ranges. Competition for fleece types was keen after last week's more mixed situation. It was a pleasing finish to sales prior to the three week Christmas break.

Changes in the Average AWEX Micron Price Guides (MPGs) for Merino wools varied from -0.4% (17.5 microns) to +1.5% (22.0 microns). Average MPGs were up by 15¢ clean for 16.5 microns, by 3¢ for 17.0 microns, down by 5¢ for 17.5 microns, up by 1¢ for 18.0 microns, by 5¢ for 18.5 microns, by 3¢ for 19.0 microns and by 7¢ for 19.5 microns. The 20.0 micron wool average MPG was up by 8¢ clean, 21.0 microns by 4¢, 22.0 microns by 13¢, 23.0 microns by 9¢, and 24.0 microns by 4¢.

Demand for all Merino skirtings types was mixed on Tuesday, but strengthened on Wednesday. Crossbred types did well this week with gains in their average MPGs across all micron ranges, varying from 3¢ (+0.9%) for 32 microns to 15¢ (+2.6%) for 26 microns. Oddments were very strong on Tuesday and held onto those gains on Wednesday. The average AWEX Merino Cardings MPG rose by 13¢ (+2.2%).

Buyers for China were dominant, followed by buyers for India and Taiwan.

Sales will be in recess next week and resume in the week commencing 11 January. There are no estimates yet of the probable number of bales that will be offered for sale.

Sales are in recess in South Africa.

Australian Wool Industries Secretariat

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