Coronavirus crisis: Call to halt Australian wool sales during ‘extraordinary’ times

Zach RelphCountryman
Schneider Group Australia manager director Tim Marwedel is calling for national wool sales to be halted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Camera IconSchneider Group Australia manager director Tim Marwedel is calling for national wool sales to be halted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

A global wool buyer and processor has amplified calls for Australia’s weekly wool sales to be suspended in an effort to protect the greasy commodity’s dramatically sliding value from COVID-19.

The Italy-founded company, which has a New South Wales headquarters at the Sydney Wool Centre, is pushing for auctions at Fremantle, Sydney and Melbourne to be temporarily halted amid the coronavirus crisis.

Schneider Group Australia manager director Tim Marwedel made the plea, saying “these are not normal circumstances”, after the pandemic wiped 155¢ off the Eastern Market Indicator last week.

“Our company view is that sales should not be proceeding under these extraordinary circumstances,” he said.

“We have almost the entire global retail sector closed down. The impact this is having down the supply chain is enormous. Access and availability to the necessary cash is not there.

“The unwillingness of buyers to buy when they have unpaid, undelivered and un-shipped wool on their books with little to no interest from clients is impacting significantly on the market.”

The EMI closed 10.8 per cent down at 1287¢/kg clean last Wednesday after India and Italy reportedly both closed their borders to Australian wool exports.

It was the EMI’s biggest weekly percentage drop since May, 2003.

Mr Marwedel suggested July’s three-week recess — which is planned from July 13 to July 27 — could be rescheduled to cater for a trading pause held beforehand.

More in Thursday’s Countryman.

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