Compared with a year ago, Australian wool prices are slightly lower in A$ terms, but are higher in US$, Euro and Renminbi. Against the US$, current prices are 25% higher than at the end of March 2020. What has happened to wool prices in some of the other major wool producing countries?
In South Africa, prices have followed a similar trend to that seen for Australia. The South African 21 micron wool indicator recovered from the lows seen in September and have improved a little more in the past couple of months. This is in line with the trends in Australian 21 micron wool prices. For example, since September 2020, the South African 21 micron wool has increased by 33%. By comparison, the Australian 21 micron price guide has lifted by 34%. The lift in 18 micron wool prices in Australia has been considerably stronger, rising by 40% since September, although prices in March were a little softer than in February. In contrast, prices for 28 micron wool have stayed relatively subdued, although they are 16% higher than the September low.
Prices for broad Crossbred wool (32 microns and broader) in New Zealand and the United Kingdom are just starting to show signs of a recovery since January. This is a welcome relief for growers of this broad wool. Since the low point in September (which was the lowest for 20 years or more at 132 Ac/kg), the UK Market Indicator has lifted by 27% to 167 Ac/kg or 93 pence/kg. Much of the rise has been seen this month. In New Zealand, the strong wool indicator has risen by 23% since September.
Prices for the major competing textile fibres have seen a strong recovery from the COVID-induced lows. The rise has been particularly strong since the start of 2021, with acrylic fibre prices lifting by 25%, polyester staple fibre prices up by 26% and viscose prices up by 54%. Prices for nylon (aka polyamide) have risen more moderately, up by 15% since the start of 2021. Cotton prices have also seen only a moderate increase since the start of 2021, although they are 50% higher than the low plumbed in March 2020.
Further information, including graphs showing the trends of wool prices in selected countries, is provided in this week’s edition of the NCWSBA Weekly Newsletter. Available to NCWSBA members.