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Wool market finishes 1.8% higher
Mar '11
The AWEX Regional Indicators finished 1.8% higher, on average, at sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the US exchange rate fell by 2.5%.

The season average of 1037¢ for the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator is now 174¢ (20.2%) above the average to the same time last season.

44,283 bales were on offer, compared with 26,384 bales last week. 6.1% were passed in, comprised of 6.7% in Sydney, 4.7% in Melbourne and 7.9% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 4.4% and 13.5%, respectively. 41,594 bales were cleared to the trade.

The US exchange rate eased sharply during the week following the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the worsening events in the Middle East. It was a classic case of a crisis in global confidence causing a rush of cash to the "safe havens" such as US, Swiss or Japanese currencies and gold, leading to a fall in commodity prices and a fall in the Australia – US exchange rate. In this case, the Yen has also appreciated sharply as Japan sold off overseas currencies to inject cash into their own economy.

The market continued to rise across all micron ranges and types as demand remained strong, despite the impact of the events in Japan on global confidence. The EMI did ease in US currency, but the fall of 1.0% was less than the fall of 2.5% in the US exchange rate and in many other commodities.

The greatest gains were among the medium and broad Merino types, as was the case last week. While the finer wools have made the greatest gains this season, the medium and broader wools are now not far behind them in the gains since the start of January.

The closing EMI is up by 339¢ (32.9%) since the start of January and by 488¢ (55.0%) since the start of the season. The EMI in US currency (1342¢) is up by 73.5% since the start of the season.

Demand for skirtings continues to be very strong with good price rises for the better and average types. However, there are some low lines in the East containing excessive amounts of seed, colour and / or cotts, due the continued rain.

They are attracting relatively little interest from the trade. It was another good week for crossbreds, although more subdued than the frenetic buying over the previous three weeks. It was mixed week for oddments with little overall change in the market.

Buyers for China were dominant, with strong demand from buyers for India, Europe and Taiwan.

Sales will be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle next week, when 46,461 bales are currently rostered for sale. Present estimates for the following two sales (Weeks 39 and 40) are 42,670 and 43,700 bales, respectively; an increase of 0.4% over the three sale period when compared with last year.

In South African sales, the Cape Wools Indicator was up by 2.6% since last week against a 1.1% depreciation of the Rand against the US Dollar and a 1.8% depreciation against the Euro. 8,939 bales were on offer.

The Cape Wools Indicator is up by 45.6% in South African currency since the start of the season and by 51.5% in US currency.

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Australian Wool Industries Secretariat

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