Australian wool market finished 1.6% higher, on average, at sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the US exchange rate fell by 1.7%.
The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) rose by 16¢ (+1.7%), ending the week at 942¢/kg. This reflected rises of 13¢ (+1.4%) in the North and 18¢ (+2.0%) in the South, with their corresponding Regional Indicators finishing the week at 968¢ and 920¢ clean, respectively. The Western Indicator rose by 12¢ (+1.3%), finishing the week at 936¢.
In a three day sale in Melbourne and a two day sale in Sydney, the AWEX EMI rose by 6¢ on Tuesday, by 15¢ on Wednesday and fell by 5¢ on Thursday. The Western Indicator rose by 27¢ on Wednesday and fell by 15¢ on Thursday in a two day sale in Fremantle.
54,410 bales were on offer in the largest sale of the season, compared with 46,004 bales last week. 6.3% of the bales were passed in, comprised of 2.2% in Sydney, 3.4% in Melbourne and 17.3% in Fremantle. The pass-in rate in the West rose from 2.9% on Wednesday to 27.7% on Thursday as sellers reacted to the easing in the market. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 8.4% and 1.3%, respectively. 946 bales (1.7%) from the expected offering of 55,356 bales were withdrawn prior to sale and re-offered bales made up 7.2% of the final offering. 50,987 bales were cleared to the trade.
The US exchange rate (source RBA) was 0.72¢ lower on Monday when compared with Thursday of last week. It was then up by 0.13¢ on Tuesday, down by 0.63¢ on Wednesday and by 0.38¢ on Thursday to close at 91.36¢, down 1.60¢ (-1.7%) since the last sale. The exchange rate against the Euro rose by 0.85 Euro cents (+1.3%) to close at 64.81 Euro cents on Thursday night. When looked at in other currencies, the AWEX EMI was unchanged in US terms and was up by 19¢ (+3.2%) in Euro terms when compared with the previous sale.
Financial analysts appear to be attributing the softening of the US exchange rate to reports from China that there has been a tightening of lending policies, while the increase in the Euro exchange rate has been attributed to speculation about a rise in Australian interest rates and a negative effect on the Euro due to fiscal problems in Greece.
There were two parts to this week's market, the strong gains on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by an easier day on Thursday when some of key buyers for China were less aggressive in their bidding. It was also the largest offering for the week and the market is at its highest level for the season. The downward changes on Thursday were mostly restricted to fleece types, with skirtings continuing to move upwards.
Changes in the Average AWEX Micron Price Guides (MPGs) for Merino wools varied from 0.0% (19.0 microns) to +3.3% (16.5 microns). Average MPGs were up by 44¢ clean for 16.5 microns, by 29¢ for 17.0 microns, by 21¢ for 17.5 microns, by 10¢ for 18.0 microns, by 8¢ for 18.5 microns, was unchanged for 19.0 microns and up by 9¢ for 19.5 microns. The 20.0 micron wool average MPG was up by 18¢ clean, 21.0 microns by 20¢, 22.0 microns by 15¢, 23.0 microns by 19¢, and 24.0 microns by 5¢.