The wool market took another COVID-19 hammering this week with the benchmark indicator dropping below 1200¢ for the first time in five years. However, market analysts are hopeful the wool price will recover later this year. The Eastern Market Indicator fell 55¢ to close at 1170¢/kg clean yesterday to mark its lowest level since 2015. In US dollar terms, the EMI dropped US48¢ to US753¢/kg — its lowest level in nearly a decade. The Western Wool Centre suffered the worst weekly fall compared to its Melbourne and Sydney counterparts, with the Western Market Indicator closing 64¢ down at 1246¢/kg. WA’s wool market is still trading above Melbourne and Sydney, which both respectively closed at 1142¢/kg and 1214¢/kg. Despite this week’s plummeting wool value, Australian Wool Exchange senior market analyst Lionel Plunkett said there was some positivity, but lesser-quality wools offered caused value to tumble. “Good style wools and those with good additional measurement results, were still in high demand and these wools were the least affected by the falling market,” he said. “The large numbers of lesser style wools and those with poor additional measurement results, did not receive the same support however, pushing continually prices down.” Although the market has continued on its downward trend, Rabobank senior animal protein analyst Angus Gidley-Baird is confident it will improve. He said a weaker Australia dollar would support the nation’s wool industry through slower global economic conditions. Comparing the COVID-19’s economic toll to the global financial crisis of 2008-09, Mr Gidley-Baird said the wool price plummeted 34 per cent, in US dollar terms, in the three months after the collapse of financial institutions in 2009. “In Australian dollar terms, wool dropped six per cent from the beginning to the end of 2008, 10 per cent through 2009 before increasing 14 per cent through 2010,” he said. Mr Gidley-Baird said this historic data augured well for the current pandemic crisis, predicting Australian wool prices to fall on the back of weaker demand and recover later this year. “This forecast was based on the assumption of decreased US and Chinese consumer sentiment, plus severe economic contraction over the next six months, before picking up late 2020,” he said. He predicted wool prices to ease towards 1100¢/kg by June 30, before picking up towards 1400¢/kg in later part of the 2020-21 season as economic conditions improved.