Trade

Merino wool prices lift 30-50 cents clean despite stronger A$

Sheep Central, April 17, 2015

wool bales dec15-14Strong demand for fine and ultrafine Merino wool helped push up wool prices in Australia this week.

Despite a strengthening Australian dollar against the US currency, the Australian Wool Exchange quoted the Eastern Market Indicator up 24 cents clean to 1130c/kg.

Australian Wool Innovation trade consultant Scott Carmody said every type and description on offer in the Merino area attracted the strongest competition seen for quite some time, continuing the dearer trend initiated prior to the one-week break in sales over Easter.

“In general terms the Merino sector was 30-50c/kg clean dearer, whilst the crossbreds were relatively more subdued, but still managed to add 5-10c/kg clean to the established market quotations.”

Ultrafine prices recovering as production falls

Mr Carmody said a small offering of the ultrafine (16.5micron and finer) Merino fleece was extremely well sought after and continued signs of price recovery in this area are becoming more evident.

“With the latest key test data figures indicating a large reduction in production in this area, users of these types are increasing their buying activity, but the larger price gains are predominantly on the better specified types suitable for luxury worsted manufacture.

“Super fine Merino fleece (16.5 to 18.5 micron) types gained between 15-35c/kg clean, with the broader edge of the type bracket coming under most attention,” he said.

“Whilst all types were dearer, a large portion of the average gains were achieved on the lower types which closed the price gap to their better counterparts.”

Fine wool attracted the strongest competition

Mr Carmody said the fine wool (18.6 to 20.5 micron) and medium (20.6 to 23 micron) Merino fleece sectors attracted the most severe of the week’s competition.

“Chinese indent orders were dominating over forward sellers and the resultant rivalry saw an escalation of prices by upwards of 50c/kg clean for the week.

“Well-specified 19 to 21 micron FNF (less than 1%vm) were the types most sought after.”

Merino skirtings followed dearer fleece trend

Mr Carmody said Merino skirtings followed the dearer pattern set by the fleece market, and widespread price gains across the selection became apparent early in the week.

“All types finer than 18.5 microns sold upwards of 40c/kg clean dearer for the week, with the 19 micron and broader skirtings gaining 25-30 c/kg clean.

“Of most interest were any types containing less than 3 percent in vegetable matter content.”

Carding demand driven by knitters

Mr Carmody said cardings of all types and descriptions continue the “bull run” and pushed higher into record levels.

“The buying interest from overseas continues unabated, with the knitwear manufacturing obviously going very well and seemingly able to absorb these high prices for the time being.

“All types were dearer by upwards of 20c/kg clean for the week, with most of the gains being posted on the first two days of selling.”

Short wool in historically high demand

Mr Carmody said some notably historically high prices are being paid for very short (less than 30mm) wools suitable for carbonizing.

“Open/broken top descriptions continued to trade at strong levels and all types were generally 25-35c/kg clean dearer with the most pressure being at the super fine end of the offering.”

Crossbred and comeback fleece firm to 10c/kg dearer

Crossbred and comeback (25 to 32micron) fleece were all fully firm to 10c/kg clean dearer, but buying continued at a far more measured pace than the Merino sector, Mr Carmody said.

“An exception to the general market was a large spike of 30c/kg clean around the 26 micron area, although quantities available were minimal.”

Market bullish about short to medium prospects

Mr Carmody said buyers appeared to be in consolidation mode on the final day of selling this week, with most expecting a largely unchanged but strong market next week.

“With quantities available expected to fall dramatically over the next 2 to 3 months, most observers remain bullish as to the short to medium term prospects of the market.”

Source: Australian Wool Innovation.

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