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Weekly commentary on the wool market from AWI trade specialists.
The Australian wool market appeared to find a base this week, as some sense of stability returned to auctions. With available wool quantities down due to Fremantle not having enough wool to offer and the AUD strengthening significantly against the USD and Euro, most thoughts initially centred firmly around a cautious approach to any purchasing. Primarily, the price movements early in the week were all negative as levels decreased further in the Merino sector. Buyers were not convinced the basis for fresh trade had been met.
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The softening of price levels at Australian auction markets continued into this week. Merino Wool's 19.5 micron and finer were most affected but very stable market pricing was evident across all other wool types. With the Northern Hemisphere, and particularly China, hitting the traditionally slow retail demand period of early summer, the overseas manufacturers can afford a little wait and see approach. It appears the finest Merino types have taken the brunt of that slow down.
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Following a few weeks of uncertainty and mixed sentiment, the Australian auction market this week finally relented to a weakening price versus demand scenario. Prices for all types and descriptions across the Merino offering faltered somewhat and falls of varying degrees occurred. By and large the crossbred and carding sectors bucked the trend and stayed relatively firm around the established basis.
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The current mixed market signals continued into this week’s selling at Australian wool auctions. Each individual centre appeared to operate independently of each other and became separate markets within a market. In the Merino sector, Melbourne prices were cheaper, Fremantle strengthened and Sydney was by and large, firm unchanged. Crossbreds in the eastern states were more consistent with 29 micron and finer fully firm to dearer, whilst the downward trend on the very small offering of 30 micron and broader continued. The AWEX EMI (eastern market indicator) gradually decreased throughout the week by 6ac/clean kg per day to close 12ac lower at 1522ac clean kg. Most of these reductions centred from Melbourne. An indication of the willingness of demand was the USD EMI which went to the positive and rose 7usc/clean kg to 1135 usc/clean kg.
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After a reasonably solid start to the selling week at Australian wool auctions, the last day saw that positive tone evaporate and the prices started to wane. Negative forces combined late in the week, whereby a selection of harder to place wools were on offer in the two eastern centres. The Merino wools were mostly and heavily influenced by high VM (vegetable matter) levels. Additionally the exporters were finding it difficult to attract much prompt business as the substantially weaker AUD v USD rates meant much cheaper offers were flowing into China which perhaps gave some incentive for those needing to buy a reason to wait for further reductions as is quite often the case.
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