Category: Wool (page 1 of 2)
It’s that time of year again – that is it’s the time of year to apply to be part of our annual Tasmanian Flock Ewe competition!
Please contact Damian or Andrew on details below for further information. The competition is open to all Tasmanian merino & dual purpose sheep producers.
There were approximately 45,000 bales rostered for sale this week. Tuesday saw a New Zealand only offering in Melbourne, this selection followed the same trend as the Australian market, with better types well supported. The Australian market was very solid, consolidating nicely after last weeks gains. The most encouraging thing though is the market in USD terms. The Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) has broken through the 1000 cent resistance level that we’ve seen for the past several months. You may recall from a couple of weeks ago that Chinatex had been sitting out of the market, they’ve been much more active in the last fortnight which has helped the market take the next step up. Both Fox and Lillie and Techwool are running with them which points to a bit of sustainability which is good.
We’re seeing good enquiry for knitwear types at the moment, pieces and bellies, xbred lambs and the like. It highlights the importance of maximizing profitability from your top lines of fleece right down to your stain types. With skirtings and oddments making up 20% of your production they can make a real difference. For the prime lamb producers there are specialty orders out there for light vm xbred lambs. Please contact us if you would like quotes on what these types are bringing at auction, or subject to quantity we can explore direct export options to attract further premiums.
All in all the “feel” is still very positive, we have our second largest sale of the season next week, this may provide some resistance. If we can get through that we’re getting tantalizingly close to the 3 week Christmas recess that will put more supply pressure on buyers.
For the first time in a long while growers are in the position of strength, demand is outweighing supply we’re not price takers for the time being which makes for a refreshing change.
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This week I thought it would be worthwhile to talk about wool measurements and what they mean. It has long been reported that micron is the one measurement that has the largest influence on price and history supports this statistic. Greasy length, measured in millimetres and staple strength, measured in newtons per kilotex, have been considered the next two most important factors in determining price.
There are however a couple of other measurements that the wool trade look at very closely, that are not necessarily so well understood. The first one is the Hauteur, which is the estimated length of the fibre in the processed wool top and is expressed as a number, for example 68hm. The second measurement is related to the Hauteur and describes the variation of the measurement. This is expressed with the term co-efficient of variation of hauteur or CVH. Both these measurements are derived using the TEAM 3 formula (Trials Evaluating Additional Measurements). This formula was developed over 20 years and very closely predicts the processing performance of wool.
To arrive at the HM and CVH figures the TEAM formula uses the micron, length, strength, mid break percentage, vegetable matter, CV of length and CV of micron, all in a complex formula to give a result. For example, an 18 micron line that is 85 mm long, 40nkt and have a mid break less than 30% would have a CVH close to 40 (lower the better) while an 18 micron line that measures 105 mm and has a mid break over 80% will have a CVH over 50.
So what does all this mean? Most orders, even those in to China will have a maximum average CVH for the batch. It depends on the final use of the product to determine what this average is, but most are under 48 and in some cases closer to 40. While having a result that exceeds these averages of course doesn’t mean the wool cannot be sold, but it does mean that buyers need to build batches that can accommodate the higher CVH lots and in turn discounting these lines to suit.
Back to the start when I said micron was the biggest single price determinant. This may have been the case, and may well be again at some stage in the future, but right now CVH is having a very big impact on price.
The final measurement that is worthy of a mention is yield. While it is widely understood, I am not sure whether it’s influencers are? Simply, every stage beyond farm gate refers to prices in clean cents per kg which means buyers work towards a clean cents per kg average for a batch. A 3% yield difference on an average merino fleece type at the moment effects the greasy price by nearly 50 greasy cents per kg, quite significant.
Two selling days in Melbourne this week with the market opening up in solid fashion and adding 5-10 cents to most types across the board.
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It was an extremely small offering for this time of year this week. 35,000 bales rostered nationally with 2,500 ex New Zealand selling in Melbourne on Tuesday. The positive sentiment from last week continued into this week with most merino price guides firming 5 to 15 cents clean in early trade. Crossbreds failed to fire with 28s easing 15 cents on day 1. Cardings followed the merinos with a 10 cent lift. On Wednesday in Melbourne there was a passed in percentage of only 1.5% which is about as low as you will ever see, illustrating that growers are generally comfortable to trade at these levels.
We talk about it a lot but the pattern continues of best performing types being keenly sought, maintaining healthy premiums over excessive length or part tender. I’ve reconfirmed with major buyers that this trend is here to stay. The gap will in fact increase as we move towards the new calendar year. Interestingly 19.5 and broader merinos have been a bit unloved over the last 3 weeks or so. China again started enquiring into these types last week, hence they look to have found a bottom for the short term.
Talking to another large Chinese trader and he said the “hand to mouth” buying strategy set by the Chinese looks to set to continue also. With wool being sold and bought now for late October/early November shipment. This is making the current market a little difficult to read; is it simply a lack of supply for the time of year? Or genuine new business driving it in the short term. We are expecting a small increase on auction volumes next week – if we can maintain a bit of momentum it will be a positive sign. Also if Chinatex re renters the market in a big way it could just be enough to drive the market higher.
To summarise, the general feel from industry participants is positive. A dramatic surge upwards is difficult to foresee from current levels, but there is also limited downside. If nothing else it should make the decision to sell a bit easier. If for whatever reason growers are inclined to holdback a portion of their that’s where some data analysis should be done as there’s real money to be gained or lost trading the discounts.
Two day sales in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle next week, approx. 37,000 bales predicted. We’re tracking about 5% ahead of last year for volume, this will level out very quickly if sales continue to be on the light side.
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The market opened on Tuesday in Melbourne this week with their sale finishing on Wednesday. Both Sydney and Fremantle stuck to the traditional Wednesday, Thursday sequence. Generally I don’t like centers selling on their own, the reduced volume limits the amount of indent activity in the market. This didn’t appear to be the case this week with the indicator in both USD and AUD terms basically unchanged over the course of the week, stabilizing after two weeks of easing.
When you delve a little bit deeper there is a bit more of a story to tell. Traditionally we see all merino types moving the same way with the market – if the market is firming all merino types firm with it, visa versa if it’s coming down. At the moment the micron curve is taking on a very unusual shape indeed. It’s been no secret that the superfine end of the curve is much flatter now than 5 plus years ago, with premiums per point of micron being as small as they’ve ever been. In the last two weeks however we’re actually seeing 19.0 and finer gaining ground while 19.5 and broader are easing. These two movements are cancelling each other out and making the indicator unchanged. For some perspective, 19.0 micron is trading at a 50 cent premium over 19.5 or 10 cents per point of micron. Where 16.5s are trading at a minuscule 6 cent premium over 17.5 or 0.6 cents per point of micron.
This is obviously affected by what orders are in the market at the time, and it’s no surprise it coincides with a notable omission from the top 5 buyers list. Chinatex are usually heavy influencers of the market often buying 15% plus of the merino fleece selection with a particular focus on 19 and broader. For whatever reason they’re not very active at the moment, but they’re just as likely to reenter in 2 or 3 weeks time.
It also highlights another interesting point, there has been increased interest from growers in the forward market thanks to the reasonable prices we’re seeing at the moment. 21.0 micron is the most liquid in this space, but as an 18.5 micron grower you might wonder how a 21.0 could be used as a hedge. Generally because as I said earlier both MPGs would move in the same direction depending on the market. Using this week as an example however and it illustrates the potential of a rare win win – when you could make money on your 21.0 forward contract because the market has gone down, and make money on your physical clip because 18.5 has gone up! Food for thought.
40,000 bales are rostered for sale next week in all three centers on Wednesday and Thursday.
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In last week’s commentary we pointed to the impending US employment figures as a guide to point the way for future interest rate moves and therefore currency price direction in the near future. The US employment figures came in softer than expected, thus reducing the immediate need for an interest rate increase there and leading to a short term softening of the US$. As the US$ declines, so the A$ rises, and this higher local currency placed some headwinds on the wool market this week.
The lift in the A$ from 75.5US¢ to 76.8US¢ coincided with a 15¢ fall in the EMI over the week to close at 1305¢/kg clean, a fall on the week of 1.1%. Exporter demand softening as the higher dollar making our wool in foreign terms a bit more expensive, up 6¢ to 1002US¢. In contrast to the east coast, the higher magnitude falls in physical wool prices in the west this week, as indicated by the WMI closing down 1.9%, or a fall of 28¢ to close at 1379¢/kg clean. This meant that in US$ terms the price of wool in WA softened marginally by 3¢ to 1059US¢.
In the Riemann forward market trading was noted for 21-micron fleece at 1455¢ for late September 2016 and 1415ٕ¢ for late October 2016. Interest continues to expand among growers in the use of minimum price contracts for wool and with the increased participation on the Riemann platform, leading to more prices available further out into the future on screen, suggesting that the use of minimum price contracts will become more commonplace. Indeed, Riemann are now generating a forward curve for the 21-micron fleece that give an indication of forward trading levels out until June 2017. Talk to your wool broker on the use of these contracts and how they can help you to hedge your downside price risk, but allow participation in the topside if wool prices rally.
This week saw 41,832 bales offered for sale and 38,658 went to the trade at a pass in rate of 7.6%. Next week sales are scheduled at Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle on Wednesday and Thursday with 38,231 bales expected on offer. Week 12 has 43,680 bales anticipated and 38,733 the following week.