Weekly Wool Prices

Week Ending May 4 (Week 44)

7 May 2012

The AWEX Regional Indicators finished 0.3% higher, on average, at sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the US exchange rate fell by 0.7%.

This week’s market followed last week’s steadying in the market, with small rises in the EMI on each selling day. But, there was a small fall of 3¢ in the EMI in US currency for the week. 20 to 22 micron wool fared best among the Merino micron ranges on Wednesday; and 23 micron wools appeared to do best on Thursday. There were also some good spots at the fine end on Thursday.

Crossbred types had another good week.

It was a good overall result, considering trade reports during the week indicating that demand is subdued and that the offering contained a large proportion of poorer quality wools. The free, or nearly free, wools were in keen demand and attracted good prices, as was the case last week.

Western sellers reacted to the easing in the Fremantle market on Thursday with a lift in their pass-in rate from 11.4% on Wednesday to 25.3% on Thursday.

Looking at the AWEX Market Indicators this time last year - the EMI at 1170¢ is 136¢ less than in the same week last year; but the season average of 1221¢ is 133¢ higher than the season average at the end of Week 44 last year. The WMI is 82¢ less than in the same week last year; and the season average of 1064¢ is 156¢ greater than at the end of Week 44 last year.

In other countries, there were no sales in South Africa; and coarse crossbred prices again retreated in New Zealand by up to almost 5%.

Among other fibres, July futures for cotton were down by 3.6% from last week to close at 87.99¢ on Friday.

RegionLast SaleDay-to-Day Changes (Week 44)Sale-to-Sale ChangeClosing IndicatorSale-to-Sale Changes
WeekIndicatorTuesdayWednesdayThursdayUS ¢Euro ¢
Eastern431165No Sale+3+2+5 (+0.4%)1170-3+2
Northern431194No Sale0+1+1 (+0.1%)1195-80
Southern431145No Sale+4+2+6 (+0.5%)1151-3+3
Western431175No Sale+9-6+3 (+0.3%)1178-6+2

In a slightly larger sale, 42,540 bales were on offer, compared with 38,103 bales last week. 11.9% were passed in, comprised of 11.5% in Sydney, 9.3% in Melbourne and 17.7% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 9.1% and 22.7%, respectively.

37,486 bales were cleared to the trade.

The year-to-date offering is 51,466 bales (3.0%) less than at the end of the same week last year (see table below). Current estimates for the next three weeks are all less than 40,000 bales and are slightly up on last year, indicating that the difference in the year-on-year offerings will be of a similar size to the current difference over the next three sales.

The major impact on the United States exchange rate this week was decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia to lower the official cash rate by 0.5% to 3.75% on Tuesday. Most (but not all), financial analysts and institutions had tipped a 0.25% reduction and had built this into their expectations of changes in the US exchange rate. The general under-estimation of the expected change in the Australian official cash rate led to the fall in the US exchange rate on Tuesday.

Exchange Rates
(Reserve Bank)
Last SaleDay-to-Day ChangesSale-to-Sale
Closing ValueSeason Min & Max
United States 103.81+0.72-1.14+0.03-0.37-0.76 (-0.7%)103.0595.00110.55
Euro78.50+0.39-0.87+0.24+0.15-0.09 (-0.1%)78.4171.5082.27

There were week-to-week gains in all average AWEX Merino Micron Price Guides (MPGs), with the greatest gains in the 21 to 23 micron range, followed by the gains at 17.0 to 18.0 and at 21 microns.

Sale-to-Sale Changes in Average AWEX Merino Micron Price Guides (MPGs)
Since Last Sale:
Change ¢ +12+11+10+2+10+9+19+23+13-15
Change % +0.7%+0.7%+0.7%+0.1%+0.1%0.0%+0.7%+1.5%+1.8%+1.0%-1.3%
Since Start of the Season:
Change ¢-812-735-650-509-395-285-208-145-106-93-17+55
Change %-30.7%-31.2%-29.8%-25.8%-22.1%-17.2%-13.3%-9.8%-7.4%-6.7%-1.3%+5.0%
Since Same Week Last Year:
Change ¢ -764-673-539-396-228-122-16+45+53+62+135
Change % -32.1%-30.5%-27.0%-22.1%-14.2%-8.2%-1.2%+3.5%+4.3%+5.2%+13.3%

The skirtings offering continues to be quite mixed, with a significant number of lower types such as discoloured, cotty or high VM wool again on offer, as has been the case in recent weeks. Better types were in good demand, particularly those with low VM levels. But, the market was cautious about the high VM types. Skirting types again had a higher pass-in rate (22.7%) than fleece types (9.1%).

Crossbreds continued their good run; and again had a slightly better overall week than Merino types.

Oddments had a more difficult week, with stains and crutchings the most affected.

Sale-to-Sale Changes in Other Average AWEX Price Guides
Since Last Sale:
Change ¢0+15+8+10-3-18
Change %0.0% +1.7%+1.2%+1.7%-0.6%-2.5%
Since Start of the Season:
Change ¢+106+11-23-22-50-112
Change %+11.8% +1.3%-3.4%-3.6%-8.8%-13.9%
Since Same Week Last Year:
Change ¢ +33+19+16-15-85
Change % +3.9%+3.0%+2.8%-2.8%-10.9%

# Average Merino Cardings Price Guide

Buyers for China were dominant this week, followed by strong support from 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 held in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle next week, when 35,713 bales are currently rostered for sale. Present estimates for the following two sales (Weeks 46 and 47) are 39,000 and 35,500 bales, respectively; an increase of 1.4% over the three sale period when compared with last year.

Sales are in recess in South Africa until next week.