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Wool market drops
Nov '10
The AWEX Regional Indicators finished 2.7% lower, on average, at sales in Newcastle, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the US exchange rate fell by 0.6%. Most of the falls in the Indicators occurred on Thursday, when the AWEX EMI fell by 1.9%.

53,932 bales were on offer, compared with 57,711 bales last week. 14.7% were passed in, comprised of 8.4% in Newcastle, 12.5% in Melbourne and 30.1% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 18.4% and 9.8%, respectively.

The pass-in rates on Thursday varied from 17.9% in Newcastle to 39.3% in the West, in response to the fall in the market. Pass-in rates for fleece and skirtings were 35.0% and 19.6%.

The US exchange rate fluctuated during the week, but was relatively stable considering the Irish "bail out", ongoing concerns about the Spanish and Portuguese economies and North Korea's shelling of South Korea all occurred during the week.

This week's sale got away to a steady overall start on Tuesday, including strong demand for the best of the fine wools in Newcastle. A record price for the season of 30,000¢ / kg was paid for a 1PP lot of 11.9 microns in Newcastle on Tuesday Prices eased sharply in early selling in Newcastle on Thursday, which led to similar falls South and the West when they commenced selling. The greatest impact was from 18 to 20 microns.

It is not clear what led to the falls on Thursday. The market had been rising very quickly, which invariably leads to a correction at some stage (as occurred in the medium and broad wools last week). Cotton prices have also eased, falling by 9% since last week and by 17% over the last two weeks. It is not known whether the global events had any impact.

Fine skirting types with good Staple Strength values and low VM moved up in Newcastle on Tuesday and Wednesday, whereas, there was a general easing elsewhere. Prices eased in all centres on Thursday when the market fell sharply. The crossbred offering was mostly confined to the South this week, where prices eased slightly on Tuesday, and were generally unchanged on Wednesday and Thursday. Oddments were relatively unchanged throughout the week.

Buyers for China were again dominant followed by buyers for Europe (particularly in Newcastle) and India.

Sales will be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle next week, when 62,645 bales are currently rostered for sale. Present estimates for the following two sales (Weeks 23 and 24) are 51,500 and 46,300 bales, respectively; an increase of 15.7% over the three sale period when compared with last year. The New Zealand Merino Company is rostered to offer 1,200 bales in Week 23.

In South African sales, the Cape Wools Indicator was down by 3.0% since last week against a 0.7% depreciation of the Rand against the US Dollar and a 0.2% appreciation against the Euro. 8,524 bales were on offer.

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Australian Wool Industries Secretariat

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