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Another good week for better type skirtings
May '11
The AWEX Regional Indicators finished 2.8% higher, on average, at sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the US exchange rate rose by 0.2%.

The season average for the AWEX EMI (1101¢) continues to rise and is now 232¢ (26.7%) above the average to the same time last year.

The greater rise in the Western Market Indicator included a catch-up component for last Thursday, when there was no sale in the West and the EMI rose by 9¢.

38,931 bales were on offer, compared with 37,518 bales last week. 10.6% were passed in, comprised of 10.5% in Sydney, 9.1% in Melbourne and 15.9% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 7.4% and 14.3%, respectively.

134,792 bales were cleared to the trade.

Sale quantities have fallen away sharply over the last two weeks and are forecast to fall further over the next three weeks. The falls, no doubt, reflect both the normal seasonal shift and that there was considerable early shearing, as growers sought to take advantage of the very good market and (in Eastern Australia) to minimise the risk of fly strike. The supply situation is compounded by South Africa having only two more sales this season and limited wool supplies in New Zealand.

The US exchange rate was much less volatile than in the previous four weeks. The fall on Monday was attributed to softer commodity prices and the increase on Tuesday was attributed to perceived hints from the Reserve Bank that interest rates may have to rise sooner, rather than later.

It was another good market, (particularly on Thursday when the AWEX EMI rose by 28¢), following the leads given last week and on the closing day of two weeks ago. The closing EMI has risen by 58¢ in the last two weeks and by 48¢ in US currency.

Competition was very keen for the better wools, with some very good prices being paid. The overall quality of the offering in the East is still affected by the heavy summer rain, although trade reports indicate the South Australian wools are less affected. The greatest competition was in the 19.0 to 22 microns range, where the average AWEX MPGs were up by around 5%, or better (75¢ to 85¢).

The EMI in US currency (1451¢) is the highest for the season. It has risen by 87.6% since July compared with a 54.3% increase in Australian currency.

It was another good week for the better type skirtings, with strong demand and good price rises on Wednesday and Thursday. The lesser lines continue to be discounted and struck some seller resistance when the Pass-in rate for skirtings rose to 14.3%, almost twice that for fleece types. It was also a good week for crossbred wools, although not as good as for Merinos. Oddments were the only wools to lose ground, as was the case last week. Nevertheless, their prices remain at very good levels with the average AWEX Merino Cardings Price Guide at 765¢.

Buyers for China were dominant with other buying support from India, Korea, Europe and Taiwan.

In a smaller week, sales will be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle next week, when 33,495 bales are currently rostered for sale. Present estimates for the following two sales (Weeks 48 and 49) are 37,220 and 26,500 bales (no Fremantle sale), respectively; a decrease of 18.6% over the three sale period when compared with last year.

Sales are in recess in South Africa until next week.

Click here to view the tables

Australian Wool Industries Secretariat

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