While the fine end has been outperforming the market recently, in a week where all of the market lifted it was the medium Merino and cross bred wools that led the pack this week. AWEX reported that the market opened with exporters competing strongly from the outset on the back of strong overseas interest.

The Eastern Market Indicator lifted 89¢ for the week, to close at 1291¢. The accumulated gain for the January 2021 selling period is now 134¢ or 11.5%.

The AUD eased for the first time in 5 weeks to US$0.763 which saw the EMI in USD terms finish 51 cents stronger at 985¢ or 5.5% up on last week. Fremantle, rose also for the week gaining 73¢, settling at 1292¢.

It was the medium merinos this week that exhibited the largest gains, lifting 6 – 8%. Noteworthy were the benchmark 19 & 21 MPGS which lifted 105 cents or 7.4%, and 98¢ or 8.4% respectively.

Finer merino types increased 80 cents plus to continue their strong run, with 4 – 5% lifts reported. The 17.5 MPG categories and finer are now trading above year ago levels, with the 16 MPG now 204 cents or 10% above year ago levels.

The benchmark 19 MPG is still 258¢ or 14% behind, while the 21 MPG is 490¢ or 28% down on the same sale last year.

Crossbred types have been in the doldrums, however this week they were in demand, with lifts 30 to 70¢ (10 to 12%) a welcome surprise.

Cardings again had a good week with Melbourne up 40 cents on the top of last week’s 56 cent lift. Fremantle and Sydney had to catch up to Melbourne as they didn’t sell on Thursday last week, so lifted 84 & 88¢ respectively.

AWEX reported that 39,841 bales were offered, 4.7% withdrawn and 5.8% passed-in, resulting in 37,542 bales sold, 3,341 less than last week. This takes the average clearance for January to 41,667 bales, while the average for the season to date has now lifted to 29,993 bales per week.

This week on Mecardo, Andrew Woods looked at how the increased fine merino premiums have lifted sub-16 micron prices above year ago levels.

The price strength seen in standard fine merino fleece prices is also operating in low tensile strength and short staple length fine merino wool.

The week ahead….

A great week for the wool market, however a cautionary note from the AWEX reports was that the later sales in Fremantle saw the market run out of steam and ease. The forward market will provide a guide to see if orders have returned to bolster the market again next week.

A larger offering of 46,800 bales is rostered, with Melbourne, Sydney & Fremantle selling over two days.

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Data sources: AWEX, Mecardo

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