Wool Market Reports

Superfine fleece prices lift in huge auction offering

Sheep Central, January 12, 2024

MERINO fleece under 17.5 micron fared best in a historically large offering in the first round of wool auctions across Australia this year.

The Australian Wool Exchange said a strong finish to the market pre-Christmas, along with a three-week pause in auctions, contributed to more than 50,000 bales being offered at this week’s sales.

This is the largest offering in eight months and the largest in an opening sale in three years, AWEX said.

“The market initially continued on from the positive finish to 2023 before losing momentum over the last two days resulting in a closing AWEX-EMI which was only 1 cent higher at 1213 cents.

“All three centres opened on Tuesday to mixed results,” AWEX said.

Merino fleece clips in Melbourne were the standout performers, with a general increase of 20 cents clean across most microns, AWEX said.

“Sydney lost some ground while Fremantle fell 20 cents late in the day.

“That softening trend continued over the next two days, including Thursday which was a Melbourne-only rostering where prices fell 10 to 20 cents.”

AWEX said the better types outperformed the lesser styles during the week, reflecting the challenging selection presented to buyers.

“Low mid-break types (<50 POB) for Merino Fleece were in limited supply (37%); now at their lowest level in five years.

“Merino types represented 70 percent of the offering (all types) which was the lowest in 12 months,” AWEX said.

“Despite the losses in the fleece market, Merino skirtings generally held onto early gains and finished the week ahead.

“Merino cardings had varied results with the 20-cent rise in the Melbourne Carding Indicator the best result overall.”

AWEX said crossbred wools tracked sideways over the three days to record only modest losses.

Big export and top makers dominate – AWI

Australian Wool Innovation trade consultant Scott Carmody said the 17.5 micron and finer superfine and ultrafine Merino sectors added some strong gains in the vicinity of a general 30 cents/kg clean, but almost all broader Merino fleece wools drifted 15 cents or more as witnessed by the lower WA market prices in Fremantle. Skirting types were solid, crossbreds drifted slightly and cardings managed small gains,” he said.

“Australia’s largest exporter dominated the buying of Merino combing wools this week resulting in almost a quarter of all bales of these types sold to them.

“Similar purchasing from one of the newer and ever rising exporter auction participants was seen on the crossbred segment,” Mr Carmody said.

“Two of China’s largest top makers representatives were also very active on Merino fleece as well, making it difficult for forward sellers.”

Mr Carmody said given the potentially demand weakening foreign exchange (forex) movements that occurred during the three-week recess, the results could still be considered favourable to grower sellers.

“In particular, the AUD v USD sat over or near the US68-cent level for almost the entire auctions break, somewhat inhibiting fresh business to a large part of the export destinations.

“The Euro was the only major currency to go in favour of grower sellers, but that destination remains subdued for demand at present,” he said.

Another large offering will greet buyers next week. There are currently 55,660 bales rostered for sale in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle which will be the largest auction in eleven months.

Click here to see the latest AWEX Micron Price Guides.

Sources m- AWEX, AWI.


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