A sheep being sheared

It seems the big correction last week generated some buyer interest as well as lowering sellers price expectation, with sales this week “solid” and clearance rates improved. AWEX reported that while all fleece types recorded increases, the skirtings and oddments posted falls resulting in the market overall quoted marginally cheaper.

The Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) fell by 4¢ on Tuesday but gained 2¢ on Wednesday to close this week at 1,004¢. The AUD was weaker at US$0.712  which pushed the EMI in USD terms 8¢ lower, closing at 715¢. The Western Market Indicator actually lifted 1¢ from the previous sale to settle at 1056¢.

The offering was reduced by 12,000 bales on the last sale to 30,272 bales this week, which influenced the pass-in rate lower to 8.2% nationally. 27,787  bales were sold, down 2,000 bales on last week. The solid market in WA resulted in 5,105 bales sold with a pass-in rate of just 6.8%.

AWEX noted that the EMI is now at its lowest point since August 2014, and 509¢ or 33.6% lower than the corresponding sale of 2019.

Analysis by Mecardo’s Andrew Woods this week reported that “The price fall in August 2020 so far ranks as the 30th largest fall in Australian dollar terms since 1947, and the 52nd in US dollar terms.” The price falls of last March and August, were in fact, larger and ranked higher.

The largest downward move came 30 years ago when sales recommenced after the collapse of the Reserve Price Scheme (RPS), with the next three worst weeks all in 1951. Wool has a history of big falls, often following a big rising price cycle.

This fall has its own unique characteristics, coming off the back of a strong rising cycle running from 2015 to 2018, along with the advent of a global pandemic knocking consumer confidence.

As noted all fleece indicators performed well, with increases in the Merino section of 2 to 29¢ with Crossbred indicators also positive. Skirtings posted falls in the range of 20 to 30¢ dragging on the market.

Cardings have really hit the doldrums, after last weeks 100¢ plus fall, this week on average they gave up 72¢ across the selling centres. The Melbourne & Sydney Cardings indicator is now quoted at 651¢, in March it was above 1,100¢.

The week ahead…

Next week there is a only a slight increase in the offering to 33,413 bales, due to low volumes- Fremantle only sells on Wednesday.

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Data sources: AWEX, Mecardo

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