Wool Market Reports

Wool growers start to hold bales back as prices trend lower

Sheep Central, January 25, 2024

MORE wool growers held clips back as prices slumped in all Merino categories, although crossbred values lifted.

The Australian Wool Exchange reported that brokers passed in 9.6 percent (up 1.7pc) of the reduced offering of 37,757 bales, 12,148 fewer than last week.

The scheduled sale days this week were limited to Tuesday and Wednesday due to a national public holiday on Friday.

Although the highlight of the week was a 12.9 micron line that sold for 12,600 cents greasy, marking the highest price since November 2021, AWEX said the ongoing softer trend from the previous fortnight persisted this week, with both days experiencing losses.

“Out of the eight selling days in 2024, six have recorded a decline in market values.

“The AWEX-Eastern Market Indicator concluded this series 10 cents lower at 1186 cents/kg clean.”

AWEX said the initial day observed the most significant downturn, with prices ranging 5 to 65 cents lower than the previous week.

“Superfine types were particularly impacted and the 16.5 Micron Price Guide registered the most substantial decline.

“Broader microns experienced a slight dip of 5 cents,” AWEX said.

“Thursday displayed a more positive outlook with pockets of strength offsetting weaker areas.

“Superfine microns continued to lack support, generally finishing lower, while broader microns showed a slight firming against improved support,” AWEX said.

“The neighbouring crossbred microns also attracted reasonable support, resulting in a 5-cent increase for the sale.”

AWEX said Merino skirtings followed the downward trend of fleece types, closing as much as 40 cents clean lower.

“Merino Cardings displayed mixed results, with minor losses on the East coast balanced by gains in Fremantle.”

China main buyer, but demand subdued – AWI

Australian Wool Innovation trade consultant Scott Carmody said following on from last week’s large (seller-friendly) foreign exchange movements, the market was somewhat dampened this week by the stronger AUD that moved over US66 cents and was largely above last week’s rates during selling.

“Whilst China remains the dominant importer and buyer of Australian wool, demand and general consumption in that nation is somewhat subdued, particularly in the weaving sector.

“The cold snap during December 2023 in China though saw a large spike for sweaters (knitwear) at retail and larger than normal sales figures were recorded,” he said.

Mr Carmody said at the finest end of the micron spectrum, the few sale lots of Merino wools finer than 17 micron had prices 60 cents lower, as European activity remains sporadic and other destinations are adjusting to the availability of these better types.

“In what is becoming a lowering volume area of the Australian Merino clip, the wools broader than 20 micron held on well and were largely unchanged to just 5/10 cents cheaper this week.

“The fine and medium wools of 20.6 to 23.5 micron account for just 12% of the tested wools for the first half of the 2023/24 season,” he said.

Mr Carmody said the passed-in rate indicated a trend towards grower-sellers holding onto some of their clip as prices lower, particularly Merino fleece in both the Melbourne (11.6pc passed in) and Fremantle (21pc passed in). Again, two of China’s largest top makers featured at the top of buyer’s lists with solid support from trader exporters, he said.

Next week is another two-day pattern of sales with 36,535 bales currently rostered for sale.

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