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Merino skirting types continues to be in good demand
Feb '11
The market rose sharply again this week, when the AWEX Regional Indicators finished 4.9% higher, on average, at sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the US exchange rate rose by 1.4%.

43,508 bales were on offer, compared with 53,999 bales last week. 4.0% were passed in, comprised of 3.6% in Sydney, 2.7% in Melbourne and 6.7% in Fremantle. 3.5% of fleece bales and 3.7% of skirtings bales were passed in.

41,777 bales were cleared to the trade.

The US exchange rate rose sharply on Tuesday, when the Reserve Bank held official interest rates at their current level, and again on Wednesday, which was attributed basis of some good economic data and rising commodity prices. Financial commentators were cautious about the cause of Tuesday's rise, as leaving official interest rates unchanged would not normally affect exchange rates to this extent.

It was another very strong market, with the week-on-week increase of 66¢ in the EMI matching those seen during January. Demand was strong across all wool types and micron ranges, with the greatest increases in prices again occurring at the fine end. The AWEX Closing EMI at 1255¢ is now up with the highest prices seen in the late 1980's. In US terms, the EMI moved to a new high level of 1268¢, some 320¢ above the peak in the 1980's and 573¢ above the 2002/03 peak.

The closing EMI has risen by 224¢ (21.7%) since the start of January and by 373¢ (42.3%) since the start of the season. Changes in the individual average MPGs can be seen in the following table, which now includes data since the start of January. The closing average MPGs now exceed 2000¢ for 16.5 to 18.0 microns and are above 1000¢ up to 23 microns.

Merino skirting types continued to be in good demand with price increases following the pattern for fleece wools. Demand for crossbreds was more subdued, with little change in their average AWEX MPGs, except at the fine end. Crossbred prices have also made large gains since the start of the year and are at levels that are well above those of recent years. Oddments had a mixed start to the week followed by strong demand on Thursday that led to good week-on-week price rises.

Buyers for China were again dominant, with continued strong demand from buyers for Europe, India and Taiwan that maintained the momentum in the market.

Sales will be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle next week, when 44,172 bales are currently rostered for sale. Present estimates for the following two sales (Weeks 33 and 34) are 43,000 and 42,100 bales, respectively; a decrease of 9.5% over the three sale period when compared with last year.

Immediate sale volumes will be affected by the rain and floods. It is also understood that there is little wool left in wool brokers' stores or on-farm, as growers have released wool into the current very favourable market.

The New Zealand Merino Company is rostered to offer 700 bales in Week 34.

In South African sales, the Cape Wools Indicator was up by 2.8% since last week against a 0.6% depreciation of the Rand against the US Dollar and a 1.6% depreciation against the Euro. 6,525 bales were on offer.

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Australian Wool Industries Secretariat

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