Low production sees wool turnover drop

Low production sees wool turnover drop


Wool
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Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) statistics at the end of last week showed gross turnover from wool auctions at its Western Wool Centre (WWC) and Melbourne and Sydney wool centres was down $78.55 million last month compared to May 2018.

TURNOVER from wool auctions plummeted 22 per cent in May as the lack of wool for sale nationally continues to impact on industry revenues.

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Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) statistics at the end of last week showed gross turnover from wool auctions at its Western Wool Centre (WWC) and Melbourne and Sydney wool centres was down $78.55 million last month compared to May 2018.

Rob Hallion from the Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) laboratory in Bibra Lake explains to students from the WA College of Agriculture, Cunderdin, how wool from the College's Merino flock is tested. Recently 21 students visited AWTA and the Western Wool Centre to watch the College’s 50-bale wool clip, that they helped shear, sell at auction. Picture: WA College of Agriculture, Cunderdin.

Rob Hallion from the Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) laboratory in Bibra Lake explains to students from the WA College of Agriculture, Cunderdin, how wool from the College's Merino flock is tested. Recently 21 students visited AWTA and the Western Wool Centre to watch the College’s 50-bale wool clip, that they helped shear, sell at auction. Picture: WA College of Agriculture, Cunderdin.

Total turnover for May was $276.44m compared to $354.99m 12 months earlier, according to AWEX figures.

May 2018 saw price records set and reset three weeks in a row at the WWC with similar high price levels at the Eastern States' centres, while May this year saw prices generally drift lower nationally, with little interest in the wool on offer from China's two biggest trade buyers Seatech Industrial and Tianyu Wool.

But prices alone do not accurately represent the complete picture of the drop in turnover.

Friday's AWEX National Wool Report showed across the season so far – which included national price records set in August and September and a near-record price spike in January – AWEX wool auction gross turnover is down 5.1pc, or $164.39m, to $3.04b.

This season it took until week 48 of the financial year for wool auction turnover to crack $3b, last season that landmark was passed in week 45.

AWEX wool auction turnover is on target to finish this season down more $100m on the $3.43b it generated last season.

Turnover at the WWC so far this season is following the national trend, down 5.6pc, or $36.7m, to $617m and with no chance of matching the $672.8m for the full season, particularly with no wool auctions at the WWC this week or in a fortnight's time because of a lack of wool on offer.

AWEX market information manager Lionel Plunkett said there was "no doubt" a shortage of wool on offer was having an impact on turnover from wool sales.

"Prices obviously have some affect, but when you look at the difference between the drop in turnover and the drop in wool production, there's a difference between the two," Mr Plunkett said.

"The lack of wool is having an impact on turnover."

On Monday the Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) released its statistics for May showing the number of bales tested nationally was down 17.3pc compared to May last year.

In May AWTA tested 137,984 bales nationally, compared to 166,880 bales in May last year.

Biggest falls in bale test numbers were in drought-affected States, with bale numbers down 25.2pc to just 3395 in Queensland.

But much more significantly, they were down 23.2pc to 43,153 in New South Wales, down 18.9pc to 46,380 in Victoria and down 15.4pc to 15,447 in South Australia.

In WA in May AWTA tested 24,401 bales, down 4.9pc on May testing last year.

Year-on-year the difference is less dramatic but still significant, with national wool tests so far this season, July-May, down 10.9pc with 1,699,085 tested compared to 1,907,947 for the same period last season.

Again, WA was less affected, with a 6.3pc drop to 363,649 bales tested, from 388,303 last year.

So far this season NSW has seen the biggest drop in wool production with 17pc fewer bales, at 448,162, tested.

Normally the national leader in wool production, NSW has dropped behind Victoria where 623,005 bales have been tested so far this season, down 8.4pc on last year.

Wool testing in South Australia is down 12.1pc to 184,600 bales for the season so far.

Average wool yield is also dropping, according to AWTA, with WA's and the national average down 1.6pc so far this season.

The average WA yield is 63.2pc compared to the national average of 64.8pc.

Average fibre diameter and staple length has also declined in WA and nationally.

In WA the average fibre diameter is 0.3pc finer so far this season at 19.3 micron while the national average is 0.5pc finer at 20.5 micron.

Average staple length in WA so far this season is down 1.5 millimetres to 83.9mm, compared to the national average shrinking 2.3mm to 83.7mm.

Prices at the WWC rebounded on the one trading day last week, in line with price movements at eastern auction centres.

Increases of between 62 and 77 cents a kilogram clean were recorded across the micron price guide range, but the spread of prices from finer to broader wools remains very tight at just 42c.

The Western Indicator finished the week up 55c at 1992c/kg.

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