The budget week always reinforces the important impact of macroeconomic forces on Australian households, businesses, and markets. This week’s wool market is an excellent example of this as exchange rates, in particular the stronger Australian dollar have impacted the market causing prices to fall. The Aussie dollar was (US$) 0.89ȼ stronger to US$0.675 pushing prices for buyers higher. Simultaneously, volumes also hit seasonal lows with growers resisting the weaker market.

The Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) ended the week at 1284ȼ/kg, down 26ȼ ( -2%) week on week. When expressed in US dollars, the EMI was down slightly losing  6ȼ increase to 868 USȼ/kg.  

All micron categories were in decline this week, 19.5 MPG in Sydney was down 54ȼ to 2367ȼ/kg. 20 MPG in Melbourne fell 69ȼ to 1469ȼ/kg. 19 MPG in Fremantle plummeted 93 ȼ to 1587 ȼ/kg.  

The Western Market Indicator (WMI) felt the full impact of the weaker market losing 61ȼ to 1418ȼ/kg.  West Australian wool sellers have been keen to withdraw lots before the sale lately, with 15.5% this week withdrawn.  These sellers perhaps saw what was coming as 41.9% of West Australian bales were passed in.

Little change this week in crossbred markets, 28MPG again reported steady at 335ȼ/kg in Melbourne.

Cardings were much cheaper this week, a 40ȼ decline to 781ȼ in Sydney, a 22ȼ reduction ending at 804ȼ Melbourne, and 25ȼ down to 785ȼ  in Fremantle.

32,694 bales were sold this week nationally, again setting a new low mark for the calendar year.  This included a national pass-in rate of 24.8% after a 5.7% withdrawal (nationally) before the sale. In the past three weeks an average of 34,000 bales has been cleared to the trade, this is a big reduction on the 42,000 bale average per week in the previous 14 weeks post-Christmas.

This week on Mecardo, Andrew Woods takes a look at Alpaca fibre prices, Read here.  During the past decade, alpaca fibre prices have followed similar cycles and trends to cashmere and fine merino prices. The average 16-micron price has been strongly correlated with adult alpaca tops since 2013 and gives a reasonable idea of the likely value for this alpaca category.

The week ahead….

A large offering is currently listed of 48,700 bales for next week, with Melbourne selling across three days and offering 29,000 bales.  Sydney and Fremantle will have sales on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Data sources: AWEX, Mecardo

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