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Strong gains made in medium & broader Merino wools
Mar '11
The AWEX Regional Indicators finished 1.6% higher, on average, at sales in Newcastle, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the US exchange rate rose by 0.8%.

The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator is now over 1300¢ and the season average (1015¢) is above 1000¢ for the second successive week. The season average is 155¢ (18%) above the average to the same time last season.

44,733 bales were on offer, compared with 48,941 bales last week. 4.1% were passed in, comprised of 1.9% in Newcastle, 4.1% in Melbourne and 6.7% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 3.9% and 5.3%, respectively.

42,879 bales were cleared to the trade.

The US exchange rate had a mixed week, with currency markets reacting both negatively and positively to varying economic news during the week. US currency remains relatively weak, with the global US Dollar Index at its lowest level since September.

Sales opened very strongly in the last Newcastle sale of the season, when the AWEX MPGs for 17 to 18.5 micron wool were up by amounts varying from 73 to 97¢ on Tuesday and increased by around another 10¢ over the next two days. There was strong demand for superior types. The national averages changes were much lower due to smaller changes in other markets. The closing average MPGs for 16.5 to 18 5 micron wools now range from 1900¢ to 2600¢.

Strong, but more modest, gains were made in the medium and broader Merino wools.

The closing EMI is up by 276¢ (26.8%) since the start of January and by 425¢ (48.2%) since the start of the season. The EMI in US currency (1327¢) is up by 71.6% since the start of the season.

Price for Merino skirting types lifted sharply in Newcastle on Tuesday, in line with fleece wool. Overall demand was good during the week and finished the week in an upward direction in all three centres. Demand for crossbreds was again very strong, with increases of around 7%, on average, in the various AWEX MPGs on top of last week's gains of 4 to 5%. Oddments also had a good week, particularly in Newcastle.

Buyers for China were dominant, with strong demand from buyers for Europe and India. As usual, buyers for Italy were strong in Newcastle, but received keen competition from buyers for China.

Sales will be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle next week (Week 36), when 53,048 bales are currently rostered for sale. Present estimates for the following two sales (Weeks 37 and 38) are 39,930 and 42,100 bales, respectively; an increase of 11.1% over the three sale period when compared with last year.

Growers are continuing to offer wool that had been held on-farm, or in brokers stores, to take advantage of the current market.

The New Zealand Merino Company is rostered to offer 600 bales in Melbourne next week. This follows the cancellation of their sale after the earthquake last week.

This week's sales in South Africa were suspended until next Wednesday 9 March due to uncertainty following the detection of Foot & Mouth Disease near South Africa's border with Swaziland.

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Australian Wool Industries Secretariat

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