The Australian wool market has continued to defy expectations this week with the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) climbing 15 cents to close at 1407c per kilogram, albeit a larger national offering of 42,794 bales.
The Western Market Indicator followed the east coast lead rising 19c to finish the week at 1455c/kg, with WA selling 10,200 bales of the 11,300 offered.
Following the trends of previous weeks, it was good style Merino fleeces that attracted the strongest demand and achieved solid gains in the series.
Across the country for 21-micron and finer added between 6 and 50c for the series, the only exception was the 19.5-micron in the north which fell by 5c.
South East Nutrien Ag Solutions wool broker David Hart said the industry couldn't have hoped for a better start to the season, despite a dire shearer shortage situation.
"The Chinese are still the main buyer. Our fears up to this point of some major event that would cause disruption in the market hasn't happened and on the other hand we have had the likes of India and Italy active in the new year," Mr Hart said.
"Just that bit of extra competition injected into the market has made it very buoyant."
....that bit of extra competition injected into the market has made it very buoyant- South East Nutrien Ag Solutions wool broker, David Hart
Mr Hart said most of the improvement has continued to be in the finer end of the offerings and the premiums for the finer wools have been both constant and high since the recovery in the market early in 2021.
"That is a little to do with supply. Buyers are expressing they simply can't find enough 'good wool'" he said.
"Good being free, sound and well grown.
"The microns have lifted so there is a lot of 19, 20 and 21-micron wool carrying a fair bit of vegetable fault from the western areas.
"That is simply reflecting the boom season that most people are experiencing."
But he said the issue of shearer shortage is not going away and the rapid Omicron outbreak is spreading heavily into the shearing workforce.
"It is exacerbating what was already a dire shortage of shearers," he said.
"We are seeing a lot of wool which would normally be 90mm to 100mm at market coming in ay 115mm to 120mm.
"That is obviously longer than an ideal length for combing."
But producers aren't being as heavily discounted as expected, he said, with buyers commenting that the wools aren't being completely rejected by processors.
"I think it is a case of processors having to adapt and having to adjust their machinery to cope with the supply of this type of wool," he said.
"The processors are dealing with it up to this point and hopefully, as we get on top of Covid-19, and the Australian NZ borders start to open up and we can get back to the freer movement of people between the two places.
"This would therefore mean shearers can enter, people can back to shearing when they want to shear and not when they are forced to shear."
Crossbred wools are still languishing, but recorded smaller rises this week, generally between 5 and 15c.
Next week 41,790 bales are listed with all centres selling on Wednesday and Thursday only, with a recent decision not to hold sales on Tuesday as it coincides with Chinese New Year Day.
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