News Flash

Lower wool production in Australia in 2018/19

23 April 2018
The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) met on Wednesday, 18th April and decided on its updated forecast of Australian shorn wool production for 2017/18 and its first forecast for 2018/19. These forecasts were released on 20th April. The updated AWPFC forecast of shorn wool production for 2017/18 of 338 mkg greasy (a slight 0.6% fall compared with 340 mkg produced in 2016/17) is lower than the Committee’s December forecast of 345 mkg. Seasonal conditions have been much…

NCWSBA has reservations about WoolQ

06 March 2018
There are reservations among Australian wool brokers about Australian Wool Innovation’s development of WoolQ, according to the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia. These reservations raise questions about why AWI has agreed to fund the development of WoolQ. John Colley, President of NCWSBA, said that the Board of NCWSBA discussed WoolQ and expressed concerns about why AWI had decided to proceed with its development.“The Australian wool market is thriving, as can be seen by the…

Australian wool production to lift a little in 2017/18

15 December 2017
The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) has revised its forecast of shorn wool production for the 2017/18 season upwards to 345 million kilograms greasy, a 1.4% increase on its final estimate of 340 mkg for the 2016/17 season. The increase in shorn wool production in 2017/18 reflects an increase the number of sheep shorn as producers respond to the high wool prices. This will be partly offset by a small fall in the average wool cut per head due to drier seasonal conditions…

Industry News

Sheep slaughter numbers up 25%

30 April 2018
Despite positive intentions among Australian woolgrowers to maintain or increase their breeding ewe flocks, the latest available data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the number of sheep slaughtered was 25% higher in the eight months of this season to February 2018 compared with the same period last season. At the same time, saleyard prices for sheep for slaughter remain at high levels despite the added supply. After remaining below year-earlier levels for more than 2½ years…

Price premium for Merino wools over other fibres remain near historic peaks

23 April 2018
Since December, Australian Merino wool prices in US$ have lifted by between 3% and 21%, with the most significant increases seen for 21-23 micron wools. Fine and superfine wools (i.e. 19 micron and finer) have seen more modest increases of 3% to 5%, because they had experienced strong rises throughout 2017. Broader wools from Australia (such as 28 micron) have seen prices lift by 20% after languishing for some time. At the same time, prices for the main competing fibres of cotton, acrylic and…

Australian wool exports keep rising

23 April 2018
The Australian wool export data for February shows that that wool exports lifted by 16% in volume terms and by 40% in value terms. As a result, the volume of wool exports in the first eight months of the 2017/18 season was 7% higher than for the same period in 2016/17. The value of wool exports was 24% higher for the July 2017 to February 2018 period at $2.418 billion. The volume of exports to China was 25% higher year-on-year in February while the value was 49% higher. Other top 10 countries…

Clothing retail sales improving

23 April 2018
Consumer confidence around the world is at high levels and these set the scene for increased consumer spending, including on wool clothing. It is interesting to see whether these high confidence levels were reflected in retail sales over the recently completed Autumn/Winter season in the Northern Hemisphere. The good news is that retail sales of clothing over the Northern Hemisphere Autumn/Winter was mostly positive. The growth in retail sales of clothing was higher in Autumn/Winter 2017 than…

Looming US-China Trade War a Risk for the Wool Market

26 March 2018
The announcement by the Trump Administration last week that the US will impose a 25% import duty (aka tariff) on US$50-US$60 billion worth of imports from China threatens to start a trade war. This would impoverish the economies of all countries involved, most particularly the US. It is very poor timing, given that the US economy is now growing at a healthy clip (fast enough for the US Federal Reserve to again lift interest rates this week) and economic growth in the European Union is picking…

Price premium for 18 micron wool falls back

19 March 2018
The price premium for 18 micron wool over 21 micron wool has fallen back in 2017/18 to date. The premium currently stands at 24% after climbing throughout 2016/17 to a peak of 47% in April 2017. The premium for 18 micron wool has been eroded this season as a result of a faster increase in the price for 21 micron wool compared with that for 18 micron wool. So far this season, the 18 micron price guide has increased by 9%, while the 21 micron price guide has lifted by 20%. In 2016/17, the 18…

ABARES’ very positive outlook for wool

12 March 2018
ABARES, the Australian Government’s agricultural forecasting and research agency, released its new five-year forecasts for Australia’s agricultural industries on 6th March. It is very bullish about wool after the price rises in the past 12 months. It now predicts that the EMI will lift from a season average of 1,630 c/kg this season to an average of 1,700 c/kg in 2018/19 and continue to rise to 2,015 c/kg by 2022/23. ABARES says that the predicted lift in the EMI “…reflects strong demand for…

Accelerating global economic growth driving commodity prices

05 March 2018
The rise in wool prices in Australia has been driven in part by the coordinated acceleration in economic growth in the US, Europe and Asia. This has helped push the prices for industrial commodities steadily higher, including wool. Over the past ten-year or more, the trends for each commodity follows the same, overall ebbs and flows. For example, the current price rise for Australian wool is following the general rising trend in prices for industrial commodities such as metals and oil. No doubt…

International wool price comparisons – Merino up, broad wool languishes

26 February 2018
It is interesting to compare the recent trends in international wool prices. Merino wool prices continue to power ahead to new heights, with no signs yet of sliding. Meanwhile, prices for medium Crossbred wool from Australia have recovered a little from the lows seen at the start of 2017. In contrast, prices for broad Crossbred wool from both NZ and the UK stumble along at 8-year lows, with not much sign of an improvement. However, I think that a recovery may be close at hand. As I reported in…


Winner of the 2016 NCWSBA Broker Award Announced

25 August 2016
The Winner of the 2016 NCWSBA Wool Broker Award was announced at the Wool Week dinner in Melbourne on 25th August. The Winner of the 2016 Award is Lachlan Sutton of Elders. In making their decision, the Selection Panel noted they found the calibre of all three presentations to be excellent. They also found it difficult to separate the finalists and that all would be very worthy winners. The Panel noted that some of the most pleasing aspects from the finalists were: their obvious passion and…

Winner of the 2015 NCWSBA Broker Award Announced

27 August 2015
The winner of the 2015 National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia’s Wool Broker Award to recognise excellence in wool broking in Australia has been announced. Matthew Thomas of Landmark was selected by the independent Selection Panel as the winner. Andrew Howells of Elders and Todd Clark of Schute-Bell were the other two Finalists. The independent Selection Panel made their decision after the three Finalists gave presentations to at the NCWSBA Annual General Meeting held on Thursday,…

National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia



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