Wool market struggles to hold on

Wool market struggles to hold on


The Australian wool market could not hold onto the strength of the previous week’s sales.

Photo by Laura Ferguson.

Photo by Laura Ferguson.

The Australian wool market could not hold onto the strength of the previous week’s sales, with the Merino fleece sector recording losses across most types.

Thanks to buoyancy in the crossbred sector, the Eastern Market Indicator actually recorded an overall gain of two cents a kilogram, closing week 22 at 1860c/kg.

This followed what was a strong week of sales the week before, which saw the market bounce back from substantial lows, and increase 77c/kg week-on-week.

Inferior-styled wool and wool with unfavourable measurements were the hardest hit, with wool carrying less than 2 per cent vegetable matter enjoying the largest gains.

Wool measuring 18.5-21.5 micron generally lost between 15-30c/kg over the week, while skirtings went against the trend and added further gains to those achieved the week prior.

Locks, stains and crutchings generally rose by 10-25c/kg.

The Southern Market Indicator remained steady on the week prior, closing at 1831c/kg, only 1c/kg down.

This trend was similar across the country, with the northern market only gaining 7c/kg, and western market losing 7c/kg.

The week’s offering was about 2600 bales up on the week prior, at 34,513 bales.

It was still significantly down on last year’s total, by 151,328 bales, or 18pc.

The passed-in rate continues to fluctuate, with 7.6pc of the offering passed-in.

This was up 1.8pc on the week prior, which was at its lowest in weeks following tough sales recently.

National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia executive director Chris Wilcox said there seemed to be a fine balance between low auction supplies and weak demand sentiment in the Australian wool market at the moment.

Mr Wilcox said price reductions in other commodities, including metal and oil, indicated there are wider forces driving the wool market’s decline.

He said this included the slowing of economic growth in China, the ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China, and mounting sense that the US economy had peaked.

He said for the first three months of the 2018/19 season, total wool imports by the major wool processing countries fell by 4pc.

This was mainly because of an 8pc drop in purchases by China, a 16pc fall in imports by Italy, and a 9pc decline out of the Czech Republic.

He said while there had been a rising trend in imports ever since mid-2016, the recent months’ decline had tipped this over.

He did note that China’s import levels remained well above its levels from a year ago.

Total imports by India and Western Europe also continued to be up, despite slightly weakened buying recently.


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