Demand rises for superfine

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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Elders wool auctioneer Rob Young and Albany woolgrower Lee Rogister with a sample of his family's superfine Janwardale clip .
Camera IconElders wool auctioneer Rob Young and Albany woolgrower Lee Rogister with a sample of his family's superfine Janwardale clip . Credit: Countryman, Bob Garnant

As fine Merino wool increased in value, prices for medium micron wool types were softer at last week’s sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle.

National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia executive director Chris Wilcox said the surge in superfine wool values was the result of restricted supplies, in part due to better seasonal conditions.

“Supplies may get tighter in coming months,” he said.

“The Australian Wool Testing Authority’s key test data shows that the volume of superfine wool tested had fallen in the first six months of the season.”

Albany woolgrower Lee Rogister said he was pleased with his family’s superfine wool clip prices last week.

The Rogisters’ Janwardale 10-bale offering of 16.7-micron wool sold to the top of the Elders catalogue, reaching 1450 cents/kg greasy.

“We were very pleased with the strength of the wool at 44 Newtons per kilotex,” Mr Rogister said.

“Good to see superfine wool at these prices, where it should be.”

The Australian Wool Industries Secretariat’s wool market report stated that the national offering reached 56,077 bales, the largest of the 2016-17 season. The report said the value of wool sold was $83.1 million or $1656 per bale.

AWIS executive director Peter Morgan said the US exchange rate finished higher to close at 75.22 cents to the Australian dollar.

AWEX market analyst Lionell Plunkett said the Eastern Market Indicator increased 12c/kg to an all-time high of 1439c/kg clean mid-week.

“The week started off strongly at Melbourne on Tuesday, however there were softening signals showing in the broader microns,” he said.

“The finer microns outperformed the rest of the market, jumping 40c to 50c/kg.

“Wednesday saw a further strengthening when Sydney and Fremantle came into the mix and pushed the EMI to a record high.”

The Elders International Wool Report stated that in Fremantle’s last hour of selling, superfine wool types remained on a positive trend, while medium types moved into correction mode.

“Fremantle often portends the tone for the following week,” Elders said.

“With the Chinese New Year celebrations, many in the wool trade will reassess what orders are actually needed and a softer market for next week is likely.”

Elders said the outlook for 2017 is positive, which may keep the $A from falling, but a stronger $A will assist by pushing up the prices of alternative fibres such as polyester and cotton.

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