CROSSBRED wool prices continued to strengthen this week, but medium to broader Merino fleece rates fell back as the AWEX- Eastern Market Indicator weakened 17c/kg clean to 1355 cents.
Australian Wool Innovation’s weekly wool market report quoted fine and medium (19 to 23 micron) as 30-40c/kg clean lower, with most of the retraction occurring on the final day.
“Prices appeared to get a little more stable late in selling as some of the previously abstaining buyers decided to take some lots into their inventory as risk mitigation in light of the small volume next week,” AWI’s market consultant Scott Carmody said.
“Significantly though, three of the usual larger buyers remained out of the market to the close.”
Best superfine wool sought
But Mr Carmody said superfine (finer than 18.5 micron) Merino types were strongly sought throughout selling. The better types on offer were able to maintain their price levels, while the inferior section drifted by a general 5 to 15c/kg clean. The few spinners/best topmaking style types with high tensile strength were in good demand and gained 40-50c/kg clean, particularly the finest available.
He said skirtings of all descriptions sold well, but drifted a little to be 10-15c/kg clean cheaper by the finish of the sales. Shorter types less than 75mm greasy met under strong competition, with these small offerings suitable to traditional flatbed knitwear continuing to be in great demand.
Merino cardings 10-15c/kg dearer
Mr Carmody said Merino cardings were 10-15c/kg dearer for the week, with renewed pressure being placed on the finer edge of the washing types (less than 2pc vm) on offer.
“Demand remains very strong in the crossbred sector, particularly for wools 25 to 29 micron, which saw an appreciation in price of around 10 to 15c/kg clean. \
“Descriptions broader than 30 micron drifted slightly and fell away by a minor 5 to 10c/kg clean.”
Buyers seek new price levels
In his AWI report, Mr Carmody said buying was fundamentally dominated by large Chinese indent operations.
“One large operator’s purchasing power in the Merino fleece sector was exceptional, taking over 30pc of available wool.
“That trend continued in the crossbred sector with two of the Chinese indent buyers taking almost 40pc of that offering.”
Mr Carmody said many forward sellers and local buyers were reporting a slow down in enquiry for most Merino fleece qualities before the sale, so a cautious attitude was taken by them into the sale rooms.
“This allowed the keener buyers the freedom to buy at their discretion, as most operators became spectators, and apparently happy to do so.
“Once again the strength of the competition in the skirtings, cardings and crossbred markets was superior, and some general gains were made on all carding types and some of the finer crossbred fleece on offer.”
Next week Australian wool auctions revert back to just the two eastern centres selling, offering a very small volume of under 24,000 bales.
“If the large Chinese indent interest continues, some of the larger buyers may well question their decision to effectively sit out this week, but if the urgent indent requirements have mostly been filled, it may turn out to be a clever strategic decision,” Mr Carmody said.
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