WA WOOL prices rose again last week to virtually catch up on gains made in eastern Australia the previous week when WA's sale was cancelled due to lack of wool.
Last week the Western Market Indicator rose by 67 cents a kilogram to 851c/kg, finishing a stone's throw from the Eastern Market Indicator that went up by 8c/kg to 902c/kg clean.
The big surprise in WA, considering the rising prices, was a 20pc pass in rate. The national pass-in rate was 13pc.
Elders WA wool marketing manager Ken Walker said more wool had come off hold for last week's sale where mainly European topmakers competed for "mid micron and strong type" wool.
"There wasn't quite as much interest in finer quantities," he said.
Mr Walker, who expressed some surprise at the 20pc pass-in rate said some growers were clearly prepared to gamble the market would go significantly higher. "And they may be right," he said.
He said the market should remain buoyant in the next few months because offerings would only be at around 65,000 bales nationally.
The imminent release of Chinese quotas would also help ensure buoyancy during that period.
Wesfarmers Landmark WA wool manager Ron Myers said prices for better and good types of wool had been maintained while "off types" started to take a bit of a fall.
He said the market could be finding a new level, as these latest price movements were symptomatic of a steady market.
Mr Myers said the overriding factor of a perceived shortage of wool driving the better prices hadn't changed.
He said that on the second day of last week's sale Wesfarmers Landmark had its greatest day ever of growers wanting to lock into futures.
Modiano wool buyer and WA Wool Buyers and Exporters Association chairman Greg Horne said some of the wool passed in at Fremantle was either not for sale or highly overvalued.
He said it was disappointing for buyers to attend a sale on the understanding there would be a certain amount of wool up for sale and then find it was being passed in.
Mr Horne said Modiano was one of the major buyers last week and was looking to buy "20.5-micron and finer tender types", which experienced a high pass-in rate.
"I had more wool passed in to me than I had bought," he said.
"I can understand the pass-in rate on a falling market but not on a rising market that was up on the previous week by 100c/kg," he said.
WAFarmers wool section president Dale Park said while the prices last week may have been good for 22 micron and above they were ordinary for 20 microns and below. "With wethers at $60 nobody is going to keep them this year," he said.
In another surprise at Fremantle last week locks rose by 110c/kg while "washing lambs" moved 70c/kg higher.
The Superfine Indicator ended last week at 1647c/kg, down 48c/kg.