Year fin­ishes on high note

Countryman - - WOOL - Bob Gar­nant

The Aus­tralian wool mar­ket closed in good shape go­ing into the three­week Christ­mas break, with the fi­nal sales of 2018 lift­ing the bench­mark in­di­ca­tor by 13 cents/kg to close at 1862¢/kg clean.

AWEX se­nior mar­ket an­a­lyst Lionel Plun­kett said with re­cess loom­ing, buy­ers were ag­gres­sive to se­cure quan­tity from the 46,003bale na­tional of­fer­ing.

“This re­sulted in price in­creases across the en­tire Merino spec­trum, with all types and de­scrip­tions en­joy­ing gains,” he said.

“The East­ern Mar­ket In­di­ca­tor has risen by 102¢/kg over the 2018 cal­en­dar year.” Na­tional Coun­cil of Wool Sell­ing Bro­kers of Aus­tralia ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Chris Wil­cox said the first half of the 2018/19 sea­son had been fas­ci­nat­ing.

“Auc­tion of­fer­ings fell sharply for the past six months, down by 21.6 per cent, to 772,965 bales,” he said. “The vol­ume sold at auc­tion dropped by 21.7 per cent to 694,702 bales.”

Mr Wil­cox said the pass-in rate for the first six months of the sea­son was 10.1 per cent, com­pared with a pass-in rate of 5.6 per cent in the first half of the 2017/18 sea­son.

“The higher pass-in rate this sea­son re­flects a fall in prices from the peak in Au­gust, de­spite the av­er­age price lev­els for all wool, both Merino and cross­bred, be­ing higher this sea­son than for the same pe­riod last year,” he said.

“Merino wool prices have had a stel­lar run over the past 18 months and more.”

Mr Wil­cox said prices con­tin­ued to lift from the start of the sea­son to a peak in Au­gust, but then fell back in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber to sta­bilise in Novem­ber.

“They fin­ished the first half of the sea­son by ris­ing in De­cem­ber,” he said.

“The EMI started the 2018/19 sea­son at 2056¢/kg peak­ing at 2116¢/kg on Au­gust 17.”

Mr Wil­cox said it was the high­est week-end­ing level for the EMI, in nom­i­nal terms.

“The low point for the sea­son to date was 1776 c/kg in early Novem­ber. but this was above the sea­son av­er­age price for all sea­sons since the start of mar­ket re­port­ing in the 1970s,” he said.

“The EMI av­er­aged 1967¢/kg in the first half of this sea­son.”

Mr Wil­cox said that fig­ure was more than 200¢/kg higher than the av­er­age for the full 2017/18 sea­son, which was a record year.

“The weight of wool tested was down by 12.6 per cent for the 2018/ 19 to Novem­ber but the de­cline is not even across all mi­cron cat­e­gories,” he said.

“There has been an in­crease in the weight of wool tested for su­perfine wool, 18.5 mi­crons and finer.”

Mr Wil­cox said su­perfine wool for the 2018/19 sea­son is set to be the high­est on record.

“Pro­duc­tion of wool in the 21 to 24-mi­cron cat­e­gory will be down around 35 per cent for the year,” he said. “For the first four months of the 2018/19 sea­son, Aus­tralia’s wool ex­ports were 15 per cent lower by vol­ume, but 15 per cent higher by value.”

The El­ders In­ter­na­tional Wool Re­port said the mar­ket re­cess fol­lowed by the Chi­nese New Year shut­down would con­trib­ute to some volatil­ity in Jan­uary.

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