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Thursday, November 07, 2013

More fine wool in October

By Andrew Woods  |  Source: AWTA

Key points

  • Overall total volume of wool tested in October was up by 3% (in farm bale terms).
  • Enormous changes in the volume of individual micron categories, with 15 and 16 micron up by 9% and 75% respectively in October.
  • 21 to 23 micron volumes continued to fall, despite reasonable crossbred production helping support 23 micron volumes.
  • 18 through to 20 micron volumes rose by more sedate levels.

2013-11-06 AWTA Wool Volumes Oct -13 FIG 1

AWTA core test volume data for October fully reflected the dry seasonal conditions of the past year. While the overall volume of wool tested was up by 3%, there were some big changes in individual micron categories with more fine merino wool and less 21-23 micron wool.

Figure 1 shows the change in volume for October and the three months to October by micron category (13 through to 23 micron) for AWTA data in Australia, compared to year earlier levels. The eye is drawn immediately to the big rises in 15 and 16 micron volumes.

The big increase in October is mirrored in quarterly increases, with season to date (July to October) volumes at record levels. There is a bucket load of 15 and 16 micron wool selling at present.  This helps explain why the 16.5 MPG is down to rock bottom premiums to the 19.5 MPG.

In contrast, the supply of 19 through 17 micron wool was up by 10-20% - relatively tame rises. Twenty one to 23 micron volumes continue to fall against year earlier levels, with the 23 micron category continuing its great disappearing act.

What does this mean?

Downward pressure on fine wool premiums is likely to be maintained, particularly for the 15 and 16 micron categories. Thank goodness the 21 micron category price is holding around 1200¢/kg clean, which is providing support for fine wool prices. Changes in the supply of other micron categories continues to favour the flattening of micron premiums and discounts. 

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