The Australian wool market finished 1.0% higher, on average, at sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the exchange rate against the US$ rose by 0.7%.
The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) rose by 6¢ (+0.7%), ending the week at 873¢/kg. This reflected rises of 8¢ (+0.9%) in the North and 4¢ (+0.5%) in the South, with their corresponding Regional Indicators finishing the week at 901¢ and 849¢ clean, respectively. The Western Indicator rose by 13¢ (+1.5%), finishing the week at 881¢.
In a two day sale in Sydney and Melbourne, the AWEX EMI rose by 7¢ on Wednesday and fell by 1¢ on Thursday. The Western Indicator rose by 11¢ on Wednesday and by 2¢ on Thursday in a two day sale in Fremantle.
46,803 bales were on offer, compared with 45,527 bales last week, of which 7.9% were passed in, comprised of 5.2% in Sydney, 8.3% in Melbourne and 11.1% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 7.8% and 3.6%, respectively. 1,565 bales (3.2%) from the expected offering of 48,368 bales were withdrawn prior to sale and re-offered bales made up 10.0% of the final offering. 43,087 bales were cleared to the trade.
The US exchange rate (source RBA) was 0.46¢ lower on Monday when compared with Thursday of last week. It was then down by a further 0.42¢ on Tuesday, up by 1.34¢ on Wednesday (after the 0.25% rise in official interest rates the day before) and by 0.17¢ on Thursday to close at 92.87¢, up 0.63¢ (+0.7%) since the last sale. The exchange rate against the Euro rose by 0.51 Euro cents (+0.8%) to close at 61.56 Euro cents on Thursday night. When looked at in other currencies, the AWEX EMI moved up by 11¢ (+1.4%) in US terms and by 8¢ (+1.5%) in Euro terms when compared with the previous sale.
It was another good week with the EMI again up in all currencies and gains in all Merino prices other than at the ultra fine end. The Northern Market Indicator picked up 13¢ and the Western Indicator 11¢ on Wednesday based on keen demand for wools in the 19 to 23 micron range. However, some of those gains were lost on Thursday when there were some falls in the North. There was widespread competition in the sale rooms, with a greater presence from some buyers than seen earlier in the season. The market has quietly moved to its highest level for the season in US currency and is only 3¢ below the highest value in Australian currency and 2¢ below the highest value in Euros.
Changes in the average AWEX Micron Price Guides (MPGs) for Merino wools varied from -0.3% (16.5 microns) to +1.8% (22.0 microns). Average MPGs were down by 4¢ clean for 16.5 microns, by 1¢ for 17.0 microns, by 2¢ for 17.5 microns, up by 1¢ for 18.0 microns, was unchanged for 18.5 microns, up by 8¢ for 19.0 19.5 microns. The 20.0 micron wool average MPG was up by 4¢ clean, 21.0 microns by 10¢, 22.0 microns by 16¢, 23.0 microns by 10¢, and 24.0 microns by 4¢.
The strong demand for all Merino skirtings types continued this week, with price gains on both days and a low pass-in rate of 3.6%. Crossbreds were relatively unchanged or down slightly with the changes in their average MPGs varying from -1.4¢ at 32.0 microns to +1¢ at 28.0 microns. Oddments eased slightly on Wednesday, but recovered their losses on Thursday when the average AWEX Merino Cardings MPG finished unchanged for the week.