Market holds solid ground

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Bob GarnantCountryman

The wool market held steady last week, retracting by only 0.3 per cent, after recent weeks of large price rises.

Australian Wool Industries Secretariat representative Peter Morgan said the 51,336 bale national sale was the largest of the season with previous unsold wool flooding the market.

"The further gains at the fine end have resulted in the average micron price guides for 17 to 18.5 microns now being above values at the start of the season," Dr Morgan said.

The Western Market Indicator (WMI) fell by 0.8 per cent last week.

"The 8c/kg fall in the WMI compared to the 2c drop in the Eastern Market Indicator looks to be associated with the absence of fine wools at the Fremantle sale," Dr Morgan said.

Williams woolgrower John Higham and his son, Sam, attended the Western Wool Centre to watch their 141-bale offering sell above evaluation. Topping the Barraminning clip was a 16-bale line of September-shorn 18.8 micron wool off mixed aged ewes, selling for 877c/kg greasy.

The consignment had an average yield of 68.7 per cent, length of 88mm and 33 Newtons per kilotex of strength.

"We are very pleased with the flock cutting more wool this year," Mr Higham said.

The Highams run 5000 Merino breeding ewes and recently have had good results with introducing Collinsville Majestic genetics through AI and natural mating with two sons of the sire.

"The progeny have produced rich white wool and plenty of it," Mr Higham said.

The family has been breeding Poll Merinos for more than 55 years and also sells Barraminning stud rams at the annual Williams Breeders Ram Sale.

Westcoast Wools agent Brad Faithfull said the Barraminning wool was very stylish and sold well above evaluation.

Mr Faithfull said low inventories of raw wool were in the favour of producers.

"Current prices should be sustainable as long as the Chinese economy continues to give the wool industry its strong support," he said.

The National Council of Wool Selling Brokers executive director Chris Wilcox said the economic gloom was lifting with several key statistics released this week, suggesting an improvement in the US and China.

"A closely watched index on manufacturing orders in China recorded the first increase in six months, while initial indicators for unemployment levels and retail sales in the US are for a significant improvement in both," he said.

Mr Wilcox said the latest October consumer confidence reports from the US showed good recovery with improved employment statistics.

"However, the damage that super-storm Sandy wrought in New York and other parts of the north-eastern US will dampen some of this confidence."

Mr Wilcox added that EU consumer confidence was at its lowest levels since mid 2009.

Wool sales will be held at Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle this week with 48,280 bales currently rostered for sale.

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