Maintain perspective during tougher times

Maintain perspective during tougher times

Stewart Raine, Roberts, says we shouldn't focus on the doom and gloom when the market falters.

Stewart Raine, Roberts, says we shouldn't focus on the doom and gloom when the market falters.


Stewart Raine says predictions of long-term wool industry doom and gloom are not helpful.


For those with a bit of manure on their boots, wrinkles around their cheeks and eyes that reflect knowledge of a lifetime on the land, the recent fluctuations in the wool market are largely viewed as part of the cyclical nature of agriculture.

While not diminishing the fact that the slump in prices has created hardship and some cash flow issues for farmers, it is important that we maintain perspective and positivity.

Predictions of long-term wool industry doom and gloom are not helpful to brand Australia, the wool industry, wool buyers or our growers.

Last week's wool sales broke records as buyer confidence and "spirited bidding" returned.

The Eastern Market Indicator closed the week at 1535 cents a kilogram, up 170c/kg, which is the highest weekly increase in the EMI on record.

There was strong demand for broader micron wool, resulting in prices paid for 19 micron wool and broader being up by almost 200c/kg.

These results have instilled much needed confidence back in the market, with 31,107 bales of wool on offer across the country this week, compared to 21,839 bales last week.

There is so much to observe, learn and digest from the unprecedented market fluctuations over the past month or two.

And while we can never accurately predict where the market will next move, we must rely on perspective and market intelligence so that we best position our wool, our brand and our industry.

Comments like "defies logic", "many are dumbfounded" and "nobody in the industry has witnessed market conditions such as this before" do not instil confidence in Australia's wool industry.

When we are faced with uncertain market conditions, it's imperative that we remain positive and talk up the virtues of our farmers and fleeces to re-create a mood of want for wool.

In real percentage terms, the downward trend in wool prices was similar to previous corrections.

It's only that the market was at record high levels that the over correction created panic waves perhaps last seen when the San Andreas fault moved under California!

The Schneider Group's Mark Symes reiterated to me that it was an incredibly exciting time to be involved in the wool industry and it was essential that all maintained a positive attitude.

"We have been through these cycles many times over the past 50 years where we hit heady highs and then the market over corrects," Mr Symes said.

"Overall when you look at the big picture of sustainability, traceability and the new age of wool as a product in a world textile market, we are having a resurgence that we've been waiting for for 20 years."

From Tasmania's perspective, it was heartening during the market slump to see our better lots achieving price premiums, and non-mulesed wool attracting also attracting healthy premiums above the market.


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