Weekly Wool Prices

Week Ending August 10 (Week 06)

13 August 2012

The AWEX Regional Indicators finished 5.8% lower, on average, when sales recommenced after the mid-year break in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week. The US exchange rate rose by 4.2% since the last sale.

The market opened on a downward note on Tuesday. This was expected following the quiet close in the previous sale, the subdued reports from China during the break and a 4% lift in the US Exchange Rate. Most of the falls in the market occurred on the first day of selling in each centre, with falls of around 50¢ in each Region’s Indicator.  The market was more settled on the following days when falls were all less than 10¢. The closing EMI of 995¢ was its lowest value since the first week of November in 2010.

The EMI is down by 307¢ and the WMI by 293¢ since Sale 06 last year.

All micron ranges and wool types were affected, with the least changes in the 17.0 to 19.0 MPGs and the largest from 20 to 23 microns and among the crossbreds. When compared with Sale 06 last year, the greatest easing is at the fine end, as was the case during last season.

The range of prices for 20 to 22 micron wools was a feature of the last sale.  This was apparent again this week and extended to 23 microns.

20 Micron MPG112111171116
21 Micron MPG111711171111
22 Micron MPG111411191102

23 Micron MPG




In other countries, there were no sales in South Africa. In New Zealand, the Wool Services International crossbred Indicators were down by 4 to 6% up to 31.5 microns and firm to in sellers favour for the coarser wools. This was on top of falls of around 3% last week.

Among other fibres, December Futures for cotton closed at 73.02 US¢ on Friday, up by 0.5% since the last wool sale.

Centre Last Sale Day-to-Day Changes (Week 06) Sale-to-Sale Change Closing Indicator Sale-to-Sale Changes
Week Indicator Tuesday Wednesday Thursday US ¢ Euro ¢
Eastern 021062-31-27-9-67 (-6.3%)995-26-31
Northern 021069No Sale-58-4-62 (-5.8%)1007-20-27
Southern 021057-54-4-8-66 (-6.2%)991-25-30
Western 021054No Sale-49-7-56 (-5.3%)998-15-21

50,603 bales were on offer, compared with 47,832 bales at the last sale. 21.7% were passed in, comprised of 20.8% in Sydney, 21.3% in Melbourne and 25.0% in Fremantle. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 24.1% and 24.4%, respectively.

39,598 bales were cleared to the trade.

The year-to-date offering for the first three sales is 25,831 bales less (-16.5%) than at the end of the same week last.

Sales will be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle next week, when 43,710 bales are currently rostered for sale. Present estimates for the following two sales (Weeks 08 and 09) are 35,775 and 39,400 bales, respectively; a decrease of 5.9% over the three sale period when compared with last year.

The New Zealand Merino Company is rostered to offer 500 bales in Week 8.

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 ¢ -102-60-41-32-56-55-67-75-87-93-92
Change % -6.4%-4.2%-3.0%-2.4%-4.4%-4.4%-5.6%-6.3%-7.2%-7.7%-7.7%
Since Start of the Season:
Change ¢ -99-66-53-43-68-76-92-95-99-103-96
Change % -6.2%-4.6%-3.8%-3.2%-5.3%-6.0%-7.5%-7.8%-8.2%-8.5%-8.0%
Since Same Week Last Year:
Change ¢  












Change %












Skirting prices also moved down with the fleece types on the opening days of selling and continued to ease as the sale progressed. As previously mentioned, crossbred prices eased by more than the Merino types. Crossbred average AWEX MPGs eased by about 8.5% on average. Oddment prices eased, but by less than other wool types.

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 ¢ -67-56-60-40-30
Change % -7.1%-8.9%-10.3%-8.1%-5.0%
Since Start of the Season:
Change ¢ -60-56-60-40-30
Change % -6.4%-8.9%-10.3%-8.1%-5.0%
Since Same Week Last Year:
Change ¢ +18-121-93-125-187
Change % +2.1%-17.4%-15.0%-21.6%-24.6%

# Average Merino Cardings Price Guide

As mentioned above, the increase in the US exchange rate had a large effect on this week’s market in Australian currency. The change in the market in US currency was much less, with the EMI down by 2.4% (26¢) in US compared with the fall of 6.3% in Australian currency.

Factors influencing Australian exchange rates have changed greatly since the last sale.

Looking back to the onset of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008; the US and Euro Exchange Rates fell from 79.1 to 69.2 ( 12.5%) and from 56.6 to 50.6 (-10.6%), respectively following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. These falls occurred despite the fact that the problems were in the United States and Europe; not in Australia. The reasons for the falls in the Australian exchange rates were that the United States and other major countries, such as Switzerland and Japan, are seen as “safe havens” in times of financial concern. Currency flows to the “safe havens” at these times, accounting for the fall in Australian exchange rates at that time and in subsequent dips in global financial confidence. Such falls in the US Exchange rate “softened” the impact of the fall in demand and in global prices for wool, and for other commodities, that usually accompany falls in global economic confidence.

Conversely, currency flows back to the “less safe” countries that have higher interest rates (such as Australia) when any lift occurs in global financial circumstance.

This situation has reversed in recent weeks as Australia appears to have developed a “safe haven” status; and has received an inflow of sovereign funds from other countries, resulting in an increase in interest rates. Unfortunately for wool, this has coincided with weak market conditions.

Most Australian financial analysts are pondering whether this is a temporary situation, or it is likely to be maintained.

Exchange Rates
(Reserve Bank)
Last Sale Day-to-Day Changes Sale-to-Sale
Closing Value Season Min & Max
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Min Max
United States 101.70Public Holiday+4.10-0.29+0.42+4.23 (+4.2%)105.93



Euro 83.12Public Holiday+2.27-0.26+0.50

+2.51 (+3.0%)




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

Highlights from the Australian Bureau of Statistics export data for June and the July to June period 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 Weight of Wool Exports
June 2012 July - June This Season July - June Last Season
China 76.1%75.8%74.4%-8.4%
India 10.1%6.9%7.7%-18.8%
Italy 1.9%4.7%5.1%-17.3%
Czech Republic 3.1%4.0%4.1%-12.9%
Taiwan 1.5%2.2%2.5%-20.5%
Korea 1.2%1.4%1.2%7.5%
Malaysia 1.1%1.0%0.7%20.2%
Thailand # 0.0%0.2%1.0%-82.9%
# Affected by Bangkok floods in October 2011 Change all Countries -10.1%


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