Australia’s wool market “has been hit by a double-whammy” in the past year, an analyst says, with the US-China trade war and COVID-19 the primary influences wiping more than 700¢/kg off the national indicator. The wool market continued to track downward last week, after the Eastern Market Indicator dropped 47¢/kg to close at 1225¢/kg clean last Wednesday. It marks a 735¢/kg fall year-on-year from the impressive 1960¢/kg clean the EMI was trading at during the corresponding selling week last season. National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia executive director Chris Wilcox said the COVID-19 pandemic was having an ongoing impact on international wool demand. He said the coronavirus crisis was the second external factor to hit Australia’s wool market since the start of 2019, citing the US-China trade dispute and its impact on the greasy commodity. “The market for wool used in clothing has been hit by a double-whammy over the past 18 months,” he said. “First came the US-China trade war, which triggered a sharp fall in Australian wool prices from the supercycle peak period from August, 2018 to January 2020. “It appeared that the downturn in wool prices had stabilised by the start of 2020, but then the spread of COVID-19 started in China. “We now have the global pandemic and the associated shutdown of swathes of the global economy.” Mr Wilcox said raw wool demand had been hit hardest, with the EMI falling by 21 per cent since the end of January to last week. “This double-whammy is the most severe challenge that the wool industry has faced for many years,” he said. “The ups and downs of the EMI in (Australian dollar) terms and in (US dollar) terms since the start of the 1990s has been the result of major global macro-events that have influenced prices.” Last week, 10.3 per cent of the national offering was withdrawn prior to Fremantle, Sydney and Melbourne’s wool sales, which reduced the total number of bales available nationwide to 22,094. It led to a 25.7 per cent passed-in rate, with 17,018 bales sold. The total dollar figure of wool sold during last week’s series amounted to $21.92 million, according to Australian Wool Exchange senior market analyst Lionel Plunkett. “The offering was dominated by lower-yielding lesser-style wools,” he said. “The individual merino Micron Price Guides fell by 39 to 89¢/kg clean, with the reductions felt across the board.” Schneider Group Australia managing director Tim Marwedel said last week’s selling series demonstrated woolgrowers were battling a “difficult period”. “Growers still have the possibility to sell if they have the necessity and buyers can deliver against any small commitments that they may have,” he said.