Weekly Wool Prices

Week Ending 6 April (Week 40)

11 April 2012

The AWEX Regional Indicators finished 1.9% lower, on average, at sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the US exchange rate fell by a further 0.8%.

The market started in a softer manner again this week, when the offering was up by 16.0% on the previous week. Falls were recorded across all Merino types and most Merino micron ranges on Tuesday. There were considerable differences between the selling centres, with the South faring better than the North and the West. Crossbreds had better start, as was the case last week, with most of their AWEX MPGs moving up by small amounts. There was a further easing across all Merino micron ranges, and across crossbred micron ranges, on Wednesday. But, this time the North and the West did better than the South, which brought the week-to-week changes for all centres closer together on Wednesday.

The EMI at 1191¢ is 184¢ less than in the same week last year; and the season average of 1224¢ is 159¢ higher than the season average at the end of Week 40 last year.

The Western Market Indicator is 99¢ less than in the same week last year; and the season average is 178¢ above the season average at the same time last year.

Growers reacted with a lift in the pass-in rate, particularly in the West on Wednesday where 12.1% of the bales were withdrawn prior to sale and 32.0% of the bales offered were passed-in.

In other countries, the Cape Wools Indicator was down by 2.6% from the previous week. The Rand to the US exchange rate was down by 0.7%. In New Zealand, Wool Services International reported that most crossbred types eased by 1.5 to 3%.

Among other fibres, May futures for cotton in the United States again fell sharply to be down on Thursday by 5.3% since last Friday, and closing at 88.54 US¢ per pound.

RegionLast SaleDay-to-Day Changes (Week 39)Sale-to-Sale ChangeClosing IndicatorSale-to-Sale Changes
WeekIndicatorTuesdayWednesdayThursdayUS ¢Euro ¢
Eastern391212-8-13No Sale-21 (-1.7%)1191-32-15
Northern391246-11-7No Sale-18 (-1.4%)1228-29-13
Southern391187-6-17No Sale-23 (-1.9%)1164-34-17
Western391230-21-7No Sale-28 (-2.3%)1202-40-21


49,205 bales were on offer, compared with 42,413 bales last week. 16.1% were passed in, comprised of 13.5% in Sydney, 14.8% in Melbourne and 22.8% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 16.9% and 22.6%, respectively.

41,302 bales were cleared to the trade.

The year-to-date offering is 50,336 bales less (-3.2%) than at the end of the same week last year (see table below). Little change is expected over the next two sales. The next sale, following the one week Easter break, is currently scheduled for 56,780 bales, only 2,000 bales less than the season’s high. 29,393 of those bales are to be sold in the South in the second highest offering for the season in that centre.

The US exchange rate started the week in a slight upward direction, which financial analysts attributed to the encouraging (but mixed) manufacturing data from China. The decision of the Reserve Bank to told the Cash Rate steady at 4.25% on Tuesday, and to hint that a fall is imminent, led to a lowering of the US exchange rate on Wednesday.

Exchange Rates
(Reserve Bank)
Last SaleDay-to-Day ChangesSale-to-Sale
Closing ValueSeason Min & Max
United States 103.71+0.20+0.10-1.18No Sale-0.88 (-0.2%)102.8395.00110.55
Euro77.84+0.08+0.09-0.10+0.07 (+0.1%)77.9171.5082.27


There were falls in the average AWEX MPGs across all micron ranges, with the greatest falls from 19.0 to 20.0 microns. The 23 and 24 average MPGs were the least affected, as happened last week.

Sale-to-Sale Changes in Average AWEX Merino Micron Price Guides (MPGs)
Since Last Sale:
Change ¢-16 -33-38-25-25-39-33-31-26-22-8-5
Change %-0.8% -1.9%-2.4%-1.7%-1.7%-2.7%-2.3%-2.2%-1.9%-1.7%-0.6%-0.4%
Since Start of the Season:
Change ¢-755-689-636-485-363-267-191-134-107-93-16+79
Change %-28.6% -29.3%-29.2%-24.6%-20.3%-16.1%-12.2%-9.0%-7.5%-6.7%-1.3%+7.2%
Since Same Week Last Year:
Change ¢-749-809-723-602-448-281-138-43+6+60+46
Change %-28.4% -32.7%-31.9%-28.8%-23.9%-16.8%-9.1%-3.1%+0.5%+0.5%0.0%+4.1%


The skirtings offering was quite mixed, with a significant number of lower types such discoloured, cotty or with high VM wool was on offer. Better types were in good demand, but the poorer types were all discounted. Skirting types had a higher pass-in rate (22.6%) than fleece types (16.9%).

Crossbreds started well on Tuesday, but eased on Wednesday, particularly in the South. Overall, they had a better week than Merino types.

Oddments had a mixed week, but generally moved downwards.

Sale-to-Sale Changes in Other Average AWEX Price Guides
Since Last Sale:
Change ¢+2 0-3-13-6-4
Change %+0.2% 0.0%-0.5%-2.2%-1.2%-0.5%
Since Start of the Season:
Change ¢+78 -30-33-40-51-73
Change %+8.7% -3.5%-4.9%-6.5%-9.0%-9.1%
Since Same Week Last Year:
Change ¢ -81-60-65-79-91
Change % -8.8%-8.5%-10.1%-13.3%-11.0%

Buyers for China were dominant this week, followed by strong support buyers for Europe, India and Taiwan.

Current export data and the percentage changes from last year, for the top five export destinations and three other key destinations follow.

Country% Share of Australia’s Wool Exports by Weight of Wool ShippedYear-on-Year % Change in Wool Exports
February 2012July - February This SeasonJuly - February Last Season
Czech Republic3.8%3.6%4.0%-18.3%
Thailand #0.0%0.3%1.2%-77.0%
# Affected by Bangkok floods in October 2011 Change all Countries-10.7%


Sales will be in recess next week and resume in the week commencing 16 April (Week 41), when 56,780 bales are currently rostered for sale in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle. The present estimate for the following sale (Week 42) is 44,100 bales; an increase of 3.3% over the two sale period when compared with last year.

In South African sales, the Cape Wools Indicator was down by 2.6% since last week against a 1.9% depreciation of the Rand against the US Dollar and a 0.7% depreciation against the Euro. 5,511 bales were on offer.

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© AWIS 2012 (for permission to reprint, in part or whole, please contact AWIS)