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Swan Wool Processors principal Paul Foley believes wool prices will rise in small steps throughout the year.
Camera IconSwan Wool Processors principal Paul Foley believes wool prices will rise in small steps throughout the year. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman, Bob Garnant

Movements in the Australian wool marketwere uneven last week, with Merino wool prices mostly easing in the eastern selling centres, but lifting in Fremantle.

National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia executive director Chris Wilcox said prices for crossbred wool were generally stronger.

The Eastern Market Indicatorslid 6¢ to 1285¢/kg.

The Northern Market Indicator eased by 7¢ to 1362¢/kg, while the Southern Market Indicator was 4¢ lower at 1237¢/kg.

Mr Wilcox said in contrast, the Western Market Indicator rose by 21¢ to 1313¢/kg, largely because prices in that centre fell on the last sale day of last week.

WA wool buyers were encouraged by the rise of the WMI.

Australian Wool Exchange Western Region wool technical officer Andrew Rickwood said the auction went smoothly.

Fremantle-based Swan Wools Processors principal Paul Foley said wool processors were buying now for retail shelves six months down the track.

“The COVID vaccines have given a rise in confidence that consumers’ retail spend will return to somewhat normal levels,” he said.

Mr Foley said he believed wool would become dearer in small steps throughout the year. “There is definitely demand for wool since it fell off its peak,” he said.

“The wool industry is led by a real human-nature ethic to get back to business.”

Meanwhile, Mr Wilcox said the Australian dollar was softer against the US dollar and the Chinese renminbi last week, but firmed against the Euro.

The EMI was US7¢ lower at US979¢/kg.

“Superfine Merino wool prices have had a fine start to the year,” Mr Wilcox said.

“Even with a slight easing last week, they remained slightly above year-earlier levels.”

Prices for medium Merino wool had also been improving, albeit at a slower and more hesitant pace, and were below the January 2020 levels. “The fine crossbred wool prices have lifted from the lows in September but have been very up-and-down and are 20 per cent below the levels seen in January 2020,” he said.

“Prices for broad wool of 32 micron and broader, particularly in the UK, were also well below January 2020 levels.”

Prices for a number of the major competing fibres had been doing better than wool.

“They did not fall as much and have lifted more quickly, with the exception of cashmere,” Mr Wilcox said.

“In particular, prices for acrylic fibre, viscose and cotton are all above the levels in January 2020.”

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