Large volumes and logistical issues colluded against wool prices last week as the benchmark indicator fell from its highest point of the calendar year.
The Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) finished 14 cents lower to close at 1407c per kilogram, clean, as the session saw the one millionth bale of the season sold.
But in reality, prices were subdued compared to extraordinary moves in other markets as uncertainty in the Ukraine/Russian war continues and the relentless 50,000-bale-a-week offerings continue.
According to Executive Director National Council Wool Selling Brokers Paul Deane, the dramatic jump in global energy prices will have further repercussions on logistic costs if rises persist.
"This comes on top of an already stressed wool logistics pipeline in Australia," Mr Deane said.
"Wool exporters in Australia are reporting a major backlog of wool at the dump as container movements, timing and scheduling at the port all contribute to delays in dumping and packing."
Logistics issues continue to hamper the "normal" trading of wool with shipment delays of up to three weeks from the original estimated time of departure.
Pre Covid-19, it was possible to sell, buy, ship and receive payments from overseas within 21 days, but anecdotal reports are this has blown out to 45 days or more for China bound exports.
In South Africa they halted their wool auctions for a week due to similar logistical problems.
The move was an attempt to help recoup exporter finances and assist shipments, giving auctions a chance to shale off the outside shipping and financial influences.
Yet despite the increased backlog of wool awaiting export, Australian wool prices are stable to firmer in US dollar terms with the US Exchange Rate finishing 1.03c (1.4 per cent) higher to close at 73.01c on Thursday.
Mr Deane said US consumer confidence has fallen during February.
"US consumers were already feeling less confident in 2022 even before the conflict between the Ukraine and Russia took full effect," he said.
"The US Michigan University index declined to 63, dropping by 7pc from January in 2022.
"US consumers expectations are now nearing the lowest levels since the Global Financial Crisis.
"The next US consumer survey result is likely to fall again given the February result does not capture the Russian invasion and further rise in energy prices which are likely to add to inflation."
US consumer confidence is lower relative to other major developed world economies and important wool markets such as Japan, France, Germany, Italy, UK and South Korea.
February test data highest in eight years as exports to China drop
According to data from Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA), February 2022 wool test data was the busiest in eight years.
Test volumes reached 33,862 tonnes greasy or 191,000 bales for the month and easily surpassed the same time last season.
"February 2022 was 7pc higher than the February average over the last seven years," Mr Deane said.
"Looking forward, test data for the remaining four months of the season needs to be as high or even higher than the extremely busy autumn period last year for full season test data to increase by 8pc year-on-year."
AWTA has tested 216.5 million kilograms (mkg) this season compared to 195.8 mkg for the equivalent period last season.
Meanwhile, the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has indicated that China's share of Australia's exports in January, although still large at 76pc, has fallen during the year from 85pc in July while exports to Italy, India and the Czech Republic have increased.
Nationally, 50,120 bales were on offer last week, compared with 45,350 bales the sale prior with 11.9pc of the offering passed in after 2.8pc of the potential offering was withdrawn prior to sale.
Looking ahead, offerings for the coming three sales are expected to range from 42,134 bales to 52,462 bales and to be 1.8pc less than in the same period last year.
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