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Australia’s wool price benchmark breaks through 2000-cent mark for first time

Terry Sim, May 30, 2018

Merino wool prices have hit historic levels.

AUSTRALIA’S wool price benchmark rose above 2000 cents for the first time ever today, as strong competition on most fleece categories amid supply concerns pushed the Eastern Market Indicator up 28 cents to 2011c/kg clean.

AWEX senior market analyst Lionel Plunkett said the benchmark EMI was helped by rising Merino and finer crossbred price increases today — the first day of auctions this week in Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle.

“It (the 2000c/kg) is a good milestone, but it is still just a number,” he said.

“The finer crossbreds actually did really well today, especially out of Melbourne, there was some very nice finer lots under 28-29 micron out of Tasmania that were up – they went very very well.”

Of the 17595 bales offered today, only 2.2 percent were passed in, giving a daily wool value turnover of $37.4 million. The EMI in $US was up 5 cents to 1506c/kg.

Wool will be sold in only Melbourne and Sydney tomorrow, with Mr Plunkett seeing no indications the market strength would diminish.

“The Freo sale went very very well late into the day, so that’s always a good sign.”

Mr Plunkett said all the Merino Micron Price Guides had been above 2000c/kg clean for some time and the EMI has been held back by the coarser crossbred fleece, carding and pieces values. Some of the ultra and superfine Merino fleece types — 15-17 micron – were also less-affected by the strong market.

In Sydney, Mr Plunkett reported the northern indicator closed up 26 cents to 2059c/kg clean today as 17- 21 micron prices jumped 40 cents, apart from 19 microns which closed 30 cents. Merino skirtings of 3pc and less vegetable matter content across all microns rose 40-50 cents and burrier lots with 5pc-plus vm gained 10-20 cents. Crossbred wools 26-27 microns rose 40-50 cents and the 28-30 microns lines gained 15-25 cents.

In Fremantle, the western indicator rose another 48 cents to 2167c/kg, with Merino fleece 18.5 microns and finer generally lifting 70-80 cents compared to the previous sale, AWEX said. The 19 micron and coarser fleece lines were generally 40-55 cents dearer. Intense buyer demand on a limited selection of Merino skirtings, pushed prices 40-80 cents higher. Wools with more than 5pc vm enjoyed similar gains to lots carrying less fault, Mr Plunkett reported. A very limited selection of oddments was generally 20-40 cents dearer, especially 18 micron and finer lots.

Only the southern market indicator in Melbourne remains below 2000 cents, after rising 29 cents to 1981c/kg today, with solid increases for all microns and descriptions. Mr Plunkett said a limited selection of wools finer than 17 microns increased 10-15 cents. Broader microns ranging from 17.5- 24 microns increased 35-45 cents, with premiums paid for well-measured and low vm (free nearly free) wool. Merino skirtings 19 microns and finer rose 30-40 cents and all other microns and descriptions lifted 20-30 cents. Mr Plunkett said crossbred wools finer than 28 micron rose 35-45 cents in Melbourne and the broader crossbreds sold unchanged to buyers’ favour.

Source: AWEX.

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