Weekly Wool Prices

Week Ending 18 May (Week 46)

21 May 2012

The AWEX Regional Indicators finished 2.7% lower, on average, at sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the US exchange rate fell by 1.5%.

This week’s market was under considerable pressure due to the further weakening of global financial confidence that began last week; and was followed this week with the news that none of the political parties in Greece has been able to form a Government (see below). This comes on top of already soft demand.

The major part of this week’s falls occurred on Wednesday when the EMI came back by 24¢ in Australian currency and by 46¢ in US currency. The WMI fell by 25 A¢ on Wednesday.

The EMI in US currency has fallen by 90¢ (7.5%) over the last two sales. But, this has been partly cushioned in Australian terms by the falling exchange rate. The fall in the EMI in Australian currency over the same period was 49¢ (4.2%).

The finer Merino types, which are down by 30 to 35% from the same week last year, were again more affected than the medium and broader types. The medium and broader wools were in limited supply when compared with the finer types. Crossbreds held on well in Australian currency, particularly at the fine end. As might be expected the better wools attracted stronger competition than the poorer types.

The national pass-in rate of 23.2% was the highest for the season; as was the 41.3% pass-in rate in Fremantle on Wednesday.

In other countries, sales were in recess in South Africa. The Wool Services International fine crossbred (33 - 35 microns) and coarse crossbred (36 - 39 microns) Indicators were up by 3.5% in New Zealand.

Among other fibres, July futures for cotton were down by 1.2% from last week to close at 77.99 US¢ on Friday.

Region Last Sale Day-to-Day Changes (Week 46) Sale-to-Sale Change Closing Indicator Sale-to-Sale Changes
Week Indicator Tuesday Wednesday Thursday US ¢ Euro ¢
Eastern 45 1155 No Sale -24 -10 -34 (-2.9%) 1121 -51 -25
Northern 45 1182 No Sale -28 -10 -38 (-3.2%) 1144 -55 -29
Southern 45 1135 No Sale -21 -11 -32 (-2.8%) 1103 -49 -24
Western 45 1173 No Sale -25 No Sale -25 (-2.1%) 1148 -42 -19


39,578 bales were on offer, compared with 33,168 bales last week. 23.2% were passed in, comprised of 21.9% in Sydney, 17.0% in Melbourne and 41.3% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 25.6% and 32.3%, respectively. 30,406 bales were cleared to the trade.

The year-to-date offering is 55,169 bales less (-3.1%) than at the end of the same week last year (see table below). This figure is expected to improve slightly over the next three sales due to the forecast offerings being above those of last year.

The inability of the political parties in Greece to form a Government has been the major factor affecting exchange rates this week. As said last week, the associated fall in global economic confidence has led to the familiar scene of falls on global stock markets, in commodity prices; and in the transfer of investor funds from Australia to the “safe havens” of US Treasury bonds, the Swiss Franc and the Yen. The transfer of funds from Australia results in a lower Australian exchange rate with the United States.

It appears likely that there will be ongoing economic uncertainty, at least until the new Greek elections on 17 June; and while concerns remain about other Eurozone countries.

Exchange Rates
(Reserve Bank)
Last Sale Day-to-Day Changes Sale-to-Sale
Change
Closing Value Season Min & Max
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Min Max
United States 101.05 -0.92 -0.18 -0.80 +0.43 -1.47 (-1.5%) 99.58 95.00 110.55
Euro 78.05 -0.38 +0.15 +0.10 +0.22 +0.09 (+0.1%) 78.14 71.50 82.27


Sale-to-Sale Changes in Average AWEX Merino Micron Price Guides (MPGs)
Micron 16.5 17.0 17.5 18.0 18.5 19.0 19.5 20.0 21.0 22.0 23.0 24.0
Since Last Sale:
Change ¢   -67 -63 -72 -45 -29 -31 -26 -21 -21 -17 -7
Change %   -4.2% -4.2% -5.0% -3.2% -2.1% -2.3% -2.0% -1.6% -1.6% -1.4% -0.6%
Since Start of the Season:
Change ¢ -821 -820 -730 -596 -444 -322 -245 -180 -142 -129 -40 +39
Change % -31.1% -34.8% -33.5% -30.3% -24.8% -19.4% -15.7% -12.1% -9.9% -9.3% -3.2% +3.6%
Since Same Week Last Year:
Change ¢ -726 -860 -800 -711 -525 -383 -270 -160 -105 -69 -11 +100
Change % -28.5% -35.9% -35.5% -34.1% -28.1% -22.3% -17.0% -10.9% -7.5% -5.2% -0.9% +9.7%


Skirting prices also came under considerable pressure, easing sharply on Wednesday, particularly among the poorer and high VM types. Further losses were incurred on Thursday. The pass-in rate of 32.3% was also the highest for the season.

As mentioned above, crossbred prices hung on well, particularly at the fine end.

Oddment types were down in all centres on both days, with locks the least affected on Wednesday. The AWEX Merino Cardings Price Guide fell sharply in the South on both days; and by lesser amounts in Sydney and Fremantle.

Sale-to-Sale Changes in Other Average AWEX Price Guides
Micron 25.0 26.0 28.0 30.0 32.0 MC#
Since Last Sale:
Change ¢   -1 0 -9 -6 -36
Change %   -0.1% 0.0% -1.5% -1.2% -5.3%
Since Start of the Season:
Change ¢   +32 -39 -43 -68 -161
Change %   +3.7% -5.7% -7.0% -12.0% -20.0%
Since Same Week Last Year:
Change ¢   +22 -12 -18 -43 -98
Change %   +2.5% -1.8% -3.0% -8.0% -13.2%

# Average Merino Cardings Price Guide

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

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 Shipped Year-on-Year % Change in Wool Exports
February 2012 July - February This Season July - February Last Season
China 79.2% 75.1% 75.0% -11.8%
India 6.4% 6.7% 7.1% -16.6%
Italy 3.5% 5.5% 5.5% -12.2%
Czech Republic 4.3% 3.7% 4.0% -17.7%
Taiwan 1.3% 2.4% 2.4% -11.6%
Korea 1.4% 1.5% 1.6% +24.1%
Malaysia 0.7% 1.1% 0.7% +53.6%
Thailand # 0.0% 0.3% 1.2% -79.2%
# Affected by Bangkok floods in October 2011 Change all Countries -10.7%


Sales will be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle next week, when 34,900 bales are currently rostered for sale. Present estimates for the following two sales (Weeks 48 and 49) are 38,215 and 26,000 bales, respectively; an increase of 11.1% over the three sale period when compared with last year.

Sales are in recess in South Africa until next week.

 
 
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