Auction prices improve for 19-21 micron Merino fleece

Sheep Central, March 24, 2023

AUSTRALIAN wool prices generally stabilised this week with a lift in demand for 19-21 micron Merino wools.

The Australian Wool Exchange said the offering reduced to 40,224 bales – 3825 fewer — after 9.4 percent of catalogued bales were withdrawn prior to sale, and 8.1pc were passed in.

The main driver in the market recording an overall increase was strong demand in the medium to broad merino fleece types.

AWEX said market results were quite varied between the three selling centres.

“The Fremantle region was the strongest performer for the series, recording increases across all sectors.

“The individual Micron Price Guides (MPGs) in the west for Merino fleece climbed by between 10 and 25 cents.”

AWEX said gains in the skirtings and oddments helped push the western indicator up by 17 cents for the week.

“In Sydney, losses were recorded across all Merino fleece MPGs finer than 19.5 micron, and these northern MPGs dropped by between 6 and 25 cents.

“This combined with falls in the oddment and skirting sectors, pushed the northern indicator down by 7 cents, AWEX said.

“The Melbourne market was extremely varied depending on micron.

“The MPGs for 18.5 micron and finer fell by between 9 and 103 cents (17 micron most affected), while the MPGs for 19.0 to 21.0 micron climbed by between 15 and 55 cents,” AWEX said.

“The southern indicator added 9 cents for the week.”

The overall AWEX Eastern Market Indicator managed a one cent rise to close at 1318 cents/kg clean.

The Australian dollar (AUD) added over a full cent (1.03) compared to the US dollar (USD) since the close of the previous auction series.

“This meant when viewed in USD buyers’ purchases were comparatively dearer, thus preventing the market from recording a larger increase.

“This is highlighted, when viewing the EMI in USD terms, the EMI gained US14 cents for the week, an increase of 1.6pc – compared to the 0.08pc increase in AUD terms,” AWEX said.

China leads 19-21 micron wool buying – AWI

Australian Wool Innovation trade consultant Scott Carmody said the key to the overall firming of the market was the lift in demand for the true bulk commodity types of the 19 to 21 micron Merino wools that gained a very solid 20 to 30 cents/kg clean.

“The Chinese buying led the push, but the Indian sub-continent were interested and a few orders from Europe also appeared.

“This stronger sector helped push the national clearance rates for the week well over the 90pc mark as growers of these types largely chose to accept the prices on offer,” Mr Carmody said.

“The finer than 18.5 micron superfine Merino types somewhat struggled in comparison by retracting a general 25 cents.

“The quality of the offering formed a large part of that price realization, as the selection contained many sub-par lots which are testing towards the harder to place specifications,” he said.

“This is particularly relevant in regards to adverse length, strength and position of break in the middle (pobM) readings, that in turn  causes a higher calculated CvH – co-efficient of variation of hauteur (estimated top length).”

Logistics issues continue

Mr Carmody said the local logistics issues continue.

“A new concern arose this past week for the operations at the WA Port of Fremantle, which is also now experiencing some peak of season dumping and shipping delays.

“Some positive news was disseminated through the trade this week from a large operator who has flagged improving conditions over the coming months, with the upcoming week of wool sales likely to assist some congestion being cleared,” he said.

Mr Carmody said the locally based trading exporters were the keenest in the Merino fleece sale rooms this week.

“Strong support was also provided by China’s largest top-making buyer representatives.

“The top four purchasers in that segment took almost 50pc of the sold bales,” he said.

“A Chinese indent buyer dominated the crossbred sector – buying 27.5pc of sold bales — and helped those types remain relatively firm throughout the selling week.

“General competition was evident on all other types and descriptions.”

Brokers have rostered 49,500 bales to sell next week on Tuesday to Thursday.

Click here to see the latest AWEX Micron Price Guides.


Sources – AWEX, AWI.


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