Weekly Wool Prices

Week Ending 23 Mar (Week 38)

26 March 2012

The AWEX Regional Indicators finished 1.3% lower, on average, at sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when the US exchange rate fell by 0.7%.

The market got away to a mixed, but generally softer start in another smaller sale on Wednesday. Prices eased across nearly all Merino types, but were unchanged or slightly up among the crossbreds. The falls were least in the North and were generally greatest in the West. Thursday was also mixed, with further falls in the East (but not in the West). The greatest falls were in the North in contrast to Wednesday. Poorer types and wools with higher percentage Mid-Breaks were most affected.

The fall n the US exchange rate meant that the falls were greater in US currency.

The EMI at 1224¢ is 155¢ less than in the same week last year; and the season average of 1227¢ is 179¢ higher than the season average at the end of Week 38 last year.

The average Western Market Indicator is 195¢ above the season average at the same time last year.

In other countries, there was no auction in South Africa. In New Zealand, the Wool Services International Coarse crossbred Index rose by 3¢.

In other fibres, May futures for cotton in the United States were up by 2.5% to 89.63 US¢ / pound since last Friday.

RegionLast SaleDay-to-Day Changes (Week 38)Sale-to-Sale ChangeClosing IndicatorSale-to-Sale Changes
WeekIndicatorTuesdayWednesdayThursdayUS ¢Euro ¢
Eastern371239No Sale-7-8-15 (-1.2%)1224-25-33
Northern371270No Sale-1-11-12 (-0.9%)1258-21-32
Southern371216No Sale-10-6-16 (-1.3%)1200-26-33
Western371265No Sale-23+1-22 (-1.7%)1243-32-39


43,256 bales were on offer, compared with 41,560 bales last week. 13.6% were passed in, comprised of 11.0% in Sydney, 11.0% in Melbourne and 20.2% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 16.7% and 12.4%, respectively.

37,370 bales were cleared to the trade.

The year-to-date offering is 45,643 bales less (-3.1%) than at the end of the same week last year (see table on the next page). Current estimates for the next two sales are down on recent sales and the same weeks last year. If these estimates eventuate, the year-on-year difference in the auctions offerings will slip a little further to -3.4% by Easter.

The US exchange rate was quite volatile this week, ranging between 103.95¢ and 106.08¢. The mid-week fall was attributed to concerns about the rate of growth in China. The closing rate of 103.95¢ was the lowest level since mid-January, but well above the value of 98.95 in mid-December.

Exchange Rates
(Reserve Bank)
Last SaleDay-to-Day ChangesSale-to-Sale
Closing ValueSeason Min & Max
United States 104.67+1.41-0.38-0.78-0.97-0.72 (-0.7%)103.9595.00110.55
Euro80.29+0.26-0.67-0.84-0.48-1.73 (-2.2%)78.5671.5082.27


There were falls across all average Merino AWEX MPG, with the least fall recorded for the 17.0 average MPG. The 19.0 to 21.0 micron wools were most affected this week.

Sale-to-Sale Changes in Average AWEX Merino Micron Price Guides (MPGs)
Since Last Sale:
Change ¢  -6-19-21-29-33-32-28-38-21-12-19
Change %  -0.3%-1.2%-1.3%-1.9%-2.2%-2.2%-2.0%-2.7%-1.6%-0.9%-1.6%
Since Start of the Season:
Change ¢  -624-557-419-300-207-142-95-72-61-9+76
Change %  -26.5%-25.5%-21.3%-16.8%-12.5%-9.1%-6.4%-5.0%-4.4%-0.7%+6.9%
Since Same Week Last Year:
Change ¢  -754-703-594-440-252-95+7+46+29-14+15
Change %  -30.4%-30.2%-27.7%-22.8%-14.8%-6.3%+0.5%+3.5%+2.2%-1.1%+1.3%


Demand for skirtings followed that for fleece wools, with a good start in the North on Wednesday. Prices generally remained firm on Thursday, apart from the lesser types.

It was a good week for crossbred wools, whose average MPGs were unchanged, or up, on both days.

It was also a good week for oddments, with locks generally doing best.

Sale-to-Sale Changes in Other Average AWEX Price Guides
Since Last Sale:
Change ¢  -1+3+5+3+10
Change %  -0.1%+0.5%+0.9%+0.6%+1.4%
Since Start of the Season:
Change ¢  -37-29-30-50-66
Change %  -4.3%-4.3%-4.9%-8.8%-8.2%
Since Same Week Last Year:
Change ¢  -95-82-84-112-66
Change %  -10.3%-11.2%-12.5%-17.9%-8.2%


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

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 ShippedYear-on-Year % Change in Wool Exports
January 2012July - January This SeasonJuly – January Last Season
Czech Republic2.2%3.6%4.0%-18.5%
Thailand #0.0%0.4%1.3%-74.0%
# Affected by Bangkok floods in October 2011 Change all Countries-8.9%


Sales will be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle next week, when 44,138 bales are currently rostered for sale. The present estimate for the following sale (Week 40) is 43,650 bales; a decrease of 8.8% over the two sale period when compared with last year. Sales are in recess in Week 41, the first week after Easter.

Sales are in recess in South Africa until next week.

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© AWIS 2012 (for permission to reprint, in part or whole, please contact AWIS)