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Weekly commentary on the wool market from AWI trade specialists.
Following a few weeks of uncertainty and mixed sentiment, the Australian auction market this week finally relented to a weakening price versus demand scenario. Prices for all types and descriptions across the Merino offering faltered somewhat and falls of varying degrees occurred. By and large the crossbred and carding sectors bucked the trend and stayed relatively firm around the established basis.
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The current mixed market signals continued into this week’s selling at Australian wool auctions. Each individual centre appeared to operate independently of each other and became separate markets within a market. In the Merino sector, Melbourne prices were cheaper, Fremantle strengthened and Sydney was by and large, firm unchanged. Crossbreds in the eastern states were more consistent with 29 micron and finer fully firm to dearer, whilst the downward trend on the very small offering of 30 micron and broader continued. The AWEX EMI (eastern market indicator) gradually decreased throughout the week by 6ac/clean kg per day to close 12ac lower at 1522ac clean kg. Most of these reductions centred from Melbourne. An indication of the willingness of demand was the USD EMI which went to the positive and rose 7usc/clean kg to 1135 usc/clean kg.
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After a reasonably solid start to the selling week at Australian wool auctions, the last day saw that positive tone evaporate and the prices started to wane. Negative forces combined late in the week, whereby a selection of harder to place wools were on offer in the two eastern centres. The Merino wools were mostly and heavily influenced by high VM (vegetable matter) levels. Additionally the exporters were finding it difficult to attract much prompt business as the substantially weaker AUD v USD rates meant much cheaper offers were flowing into China which perhaps gave some incentive for those needing to buy a reason to wait for further reductions as is quite often the case.
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Extraordinarily strong price rises in the Merino sector featured at Australian wool auctions this past week. Gains of between 3 to 5% were recorded across the 17 to 22 micron area as 3 or 4 of the major buyers exerted extreme purchasing pressure in the suddenly reduced offerings. The 38,000 bales on offer appeared to be short of what the trade demand currently requires, hence the upward spiralling price movements.
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Erratic price movements in the Merino fleece and skirting sectors and stable pricing in the carding and crossbred sector was the trend at Australian wool auction markets this week. The market in the Merino fleece initially struggled to find a level where buyers were happy to support and prices for wools broader than 18 micron drifted downward by 30ac clean/kg. This negative trend failed to last more than a day and prices immediately moved back to the positive direction on the final day and recovered more than half of the previous day’s losses.
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