WOOLGROWERS and brokers telegraphing intent to "dump" almost 41,000 bales onto the national wool market this week has been blamed for stopping a firming market stone dead at the Western Wool Centre (WWC).
Trading two hours behind completed Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) auctions in Melbourne and Sydney, the WWC was only part way through last Thursday's trading when wool buyers got wind of a potential 61 per cent increase in the offering in Melbourne and a 45pc increase in Sydney this week.
First fleece seller at the WWC last Thursday, Elders' auctioneer Dean Hubbard was 130 lots into their catalogue without a lot being passed in and with good competition from buyers up to that point.
AWEX technical controller at the WWC Andrew Rickwood had just estimated the market was between 30c and 50c dearer, building on rises of up to 101c for 19.5 micron wools and between 93c and 99c for other micron sectors the previous day.
But when buyers heard of the scale of the increase in this week's East coast offerings, the brakes went on really hard.
Suddenly Mr Hubbard and Westcoast Wool & Livestock, Dyson Jones Wool Marketing and Wool Agency auctioneers who followed him were struggling to find opening bids.
The electronic sales data screens turned red as whole clips were passed in, often with just one rejected bid per lot.
From nothing, the passed-in rate displayed in the corner of one screen suddenly jumped to 17pc, then continued to climb, topping out at 36pc for the remaining fleece offering.
Apart from the occasional exceptional quality small lot, buyers were simply not interested and several packed up and left early before the last auction catalogue was completed.
The unspoken consensus between buyers seemed to be - Why bid when there is going to be much more wool to choose from and likely at much lower prices this week?
By the end of WWC trading last Thursday AWEX had confirmed the national auction offering this week was forecast to be 40,999 bales, almost a 50pc increase on the 27,458 bales put up last week.
The main auction centre in Melbourne is expected to offer 21,758 bales, a 60.9pc increase on the 13,525 bales it offered last week.
The Sydney centre is expected to offer 10,464 bales, a 45pc increase on last week's 7184, while the WWC is forecasting this week's offering will jump 30pc, from 6749 bales last week to 8777 bales.
But after this week's spike in wool offered for sale, AWEX's early forecasting indicates it expects the national offering to return to 29,969 bales next week - slightly more than was offered last week but slightly less than the national offering two weeks ago.
Recently returned from the two-day Nanjing Wool Market Conference hosted this year by Ruyi Technology Group, one of China's textile and clothing manufacturing giants, Scanlan Wools buyer Steve Noa was highly critical of the "dump" of