The EMI rose to a record level at the end of 10th November 2017. This record is, of course, before taking into account inflation. It is therefore a bit illusory, because $1 now is worth less than it was 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 30 years ago.
Once inflation is taken into account, current price levels are well below the extraordinary peak seen in mid-1988. In fact, the EMI at 1652 c/kg in real terms is a touch below the peak at the end of 2002. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that all commodity prices will have seen the same impact of inflation. On-farm productivity gains offset the tendency for commodity prices to fall in real terms. Australian wool growers now are more efficient at producing wool than in the late 1980s (for example, higher average fleece weights, increased lambing percentages etc.). As well, the quality of the wool being produced is vastly different to that in the late 1980s, most notably with more superfine wool being produced.
More details including a chart showing the EMI in nominal terms and in real terms since the mid 1980s is included in this week's edition of the NCWSBA Weekly Newsletter. Available to NCWSBA Members only.