Wool market gets sinking feeling as Covid-19 piles on pain

Wool market groans under weight of coronavirus panic

TOUGH TIMES: The wool industry is facing a challenging year because of coronavirus says AWI CEO, Stuart McCullough.

TOUGH TIMES: The wool industry is facing a challenging year because of coronavirus says AWI CEO, Stuart McCullough.


The Eastern Market Indicator shed 52 cents on Wednesday as uncertainty about the impact of coronavirus continues to grow.


The Eastern Market Indicator plunged 52 cents a kilogram clean on Wednesday as coronavirus continued to pile more pain on the wool market.

Pass-in rates hit 31.4 per cent but that couldn't stop the EMI plunging to 1450c.

A total 18,578 bales were offered in Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle with 12,749 cleared to the trade for $19 million.

The pass-in rate hit almost 46pc in Fremantle with just 2492 of the 4597 bales offered sold.

The Western Indicator plummeted 91c top finish on 1525c.

As well, 36pc of the Merino fleece was withdrawn from sale before the auction as growers watched prices nosediving at eastern selling centres.

Prices still dropped across the board by 70-100c which resulted in almost 50pc of the fleece failing to meet sellers' reserves.

Merino skirtings also tracked sharply downward, recording losses across the board of between 130-160c despite a pass-in rate of more than 40pc.

The Sydney market ended the day deep in negative territory with 16.5 to 21 micron fleece wools losing 90-100c across all descriptions.

Merino skirtings finished the day 100-120c cheaper. Crossbreds eased 15-20c across all microns.

Sydney had a pass-in rate of 28.2pc on an offering of 4931 bales.

Losses were also the order of the day in Melbourne with the Southern Indicator losing 37c.

Falls were in the 30 to 80c range with either end of the Merino fleece micron range (16.5 to 21) least affected.

Poorer spec types were increasingly hard to sell which contributed to a high pass-in rate of 36.7pc.

Merino skirtings were 30 to 50c cheper.

Australian Wool Innovation CEO, Stuart McCullough, said the industry was facing a tough year but said signs of post-coronavirus life were starting to appear in China, the origin of the disease.

He said on an AWI podcast that coronavirus meant people in key wool apparel markets weren't able to get to shops to buy garments.

AWI was planning to put many of its marketing programs on the backburner until world markets regained some stability.

Mr McCullough warned the wool price pain could go on for months.

Almost 20,000 bales are scheduled for sale today (Thursday).


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