Price rises encouraging as wool industry prepares for three-week Christmas recess

Headshot of Aidan Smith
Aidan SmithCountryman
Woolgrowers hope to end the year on a positive note.
Camera IconWoolgrowers hope to end the year on a positive note. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

The Australian wool industry is hoping to head into the three-week Christmas recess on a positive note as prices lifted to 1177¢/kg in the east and to 1305¢/kg in the west during week 23 of the season.

The prices were driven by “strong increases in fine Merino fleece types and aided by currency movements”, according to Australian Wool Exchange senior market analyst Lionel Plunkett.

Mr Plunkett said prices were driven by exporters needing to finish orders, and knowing that “this sale was an important time to secure the wool they need as the end of the year fast approaches”.

“In the Merino fleece types, in many cases, wools possessing faults such as lower tensile strength or higher vegetable matter brought very similar money to wool free of these faults as buyers fought hard to secure certain lots that suited their specific needs,” he said.

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Prices rose the most in Melbourne, especially for 16.5-18 micron superfine Merino fleece types, from between 46¢/kg and 71¢/kg.

WA’s offerings had rises across the board, lifting the indicator by 16¢ to 1305¢/kg.

An Australian Wool Innovation spokesman said almost all of the new found buying intent came from the pressure that a few of the Chinese mills had been exerting on the market for the past two months, which saw China take a large proportion of clips into their inventory that have traditionally been the exclusive domain of European buyers for decades.

Mr Plunkett said week 24, from December 11-13, would host the final sale of the 2023 calendar year, with sales then heading into the annual three-week Christmas recess.

Endeavour Wool buyer Steve Noa.
Camera IconEndeavour Wool buyer Steve Noa. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Endeavor Wool buyer Steve Noa said woolgrowers were hoping prices remained stable or lifted further to bring some confidence back into the market and to set it up for next year.

“There’s usually a bit of positivity in the market at the start of the new year,” Mr Noa said.

“We’d like to see the market finish on a strong note.”

Week 23 was the first three-day selling series in Melbourne since May 18, week 46 of the previous season, with 22,906 bales offered.

The number of bales offered in the west was 8677, with the total for the week across all centres at 45,228 bales.

So far this season WA has offered a total of 143,960 bales, up 5.9 per cent — or 7990 bales — on last season.

The value of the WA wool trade has risen to $194 million season to date — $12m up on this time last season — the highest value gain in the country.

So far this season, the wool market has lifted in value to $1.025 billion, up $7m on last season-to-date figures.

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