As signalled towards the close of last week’s selling, Australian wool auctions produced extensive price rises for all categories within the Merino segment of the offering this week. In an offering of less than 30,000 bales, of most interest to the trade were the types finer than 19.5 micron once again. By week’s end, all Merino qualities came under heavy buying pressure. The strength of the market in the fleece room on the final day was intense, with several operators appearing to be “buying at best” on behalf of their overseas clients. As a result of this market strength, the Eastern Market Indicator (EMI ) gained 18ac to 1318ac/clean kg which is 149ac or 12.7% higher than at the same time last year. In US dollar terms the price is also significantly better at 993usc/clean g, a level 15.5% higher than at the same sale last season.