During the week ending March 31, price levels were highly variable from the outset on all merino wools, with large discrepancies apparent on relatively minor difference in tested specifications. By the close of selling, all merino types were being quoted at a general 60ac clean/kg lower, whilst the carding and crossbred sectors were far less affected and remained unchanged to 20ac cheaper, Australian Wool Innovation said in its weekly Wool Market report.
Demand for prompt and short term shipment appears to have been met for the interim, as after weeks of highly escalating market levels the merino wool values seemed to hit a price point that just could not convince manufacturers to book forward contracts at these rates. Subsequently prices could not be sustained, as local auction buyers quickly interpreted the radical change in sentiment and reverted to safety mode by just cherry picking the selection at ever decreasing buy in levels.
Aiding in the particularly awkward and rapid change in direction were that local auctions have recently been loaded up weekly, at short notice, of volumes between 10 and 20 per cent more. This push of quantity onto the market was not over the top by any means but is indicative of the fragile nature of the demand-price relationship, relative to the immediate wool availability. This extra volume assisted in easing purchase pressure on sale room operators and in a shorter time frame than originally forecast.
Price levels in the merino segment were being quoted on average as 60 to 80ac clean/kg cheaper. In the better types suitable for European and Indian delivery of 19 micron and finer, prices were actually almost fully maintained for the week, albeit in the minor quantity available. The major Italian operator was unbeatable once again, particularly in the 17.5 to 19 micron area.
Away from those better wools, price nuances were radical as well with FNF types with less than 1% vegetable matter (vm) of all microns holding on comparatively well at just 25 to 30ac lower whilst the lower specified and higher vm (more than 1%) wools were hardest hit and well over 100ac clean kg cheaper for the week.
All carding types remained well sought after and prices avoided the downturn experienced in the longer wools. The comeback and crossbred wool (25 to 30 micron) were also sold to a much better tone and prices were just 5 to 15ac clean kg lower.
Next week, all 3 centres—Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle—will be in operation with Melbourne offering 55 per cent of total 49,000 bales to be made available. (RKS)
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