Data on the volume of wool tested in March from the AWTA shows a strong 14% year-on-year jump in the weight of wool tested for the month. The increase has been inflated a little as the Easter break in 2016 was in the last few days of March, which reduced the number of working days, while the Easter break is in mid-April this year. Given the sharp divergence in prices for superfine wool and prices for medium Merino wool in recent months, it is interesting to see what has happened to the supply of these wools this season.
For superfine wool (18.5 micron and finer), the weight tested is 5% lower this season than in 2015/16 to date. The volume tested of this wool is the lowest since the 2012/13 season. In contrast, the volume of medium Merino wool (21 to 24 micron) has jumped by 21% this year and is the highest since 2012/13. The weight of fine Merino wool (19-20 micron) is up by 7%. Assuming that this difference in the weight of wool tested is being reflected at auction, then supply is clearly part of the reason for the significant widening of the price differential between superfine wool and medium Merino wool this season.
Full details, including a chart showing the weight of wool tested in total and by micron ranges for the current season and the previous four seasons to March, are included in the NCWSBA Weekly Newsletter for the week ending 7th April 2017. Available to NCWSBA members.