|U.S. Wool Market Up Sharply in Late March Sales
(May 1, 2010) In the last week of April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported the sale of 1.1 million lbs. of wool on a clean basis, about one-third of which was from a Roswell Wool sale with the remainder from country trades in the respective regions. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) reported that prices include classed and skirted wools, which likely accounted for more than half of the traded volume in late March which usually receives a 10 to 20 cents/lb. clean premium (4/2/10). USDA/AMS also reported staple length, with wools less than 76 mm (three inches) were discounted 10 to 20 cents/lb. clean (4/2/10).
Overall, international and domestic demand is strong this year, with price increases mirroring the Australian market.
Will Griggs, manager at Utah Wool Marketing Association, commented, “In my opinion, foreign buyers are more comfortable now in the U.S. market.” U.S. wools perform as expected. Historically, buyers thought that there was more of a threat of contamination in Californian wools, but that reputation has eroded, the wool is much, much cleaner.
In late March, in the Territory States, microns 21 to 26 averaged $1.42/lb. higher (or 96-percent higher) than a year ago April.
In the Fleece States, 19 micron averaged $3.48/lb., 20 micron was $3.44/lb., 21 micron was $3.21/lb., 22 micron was $3.17/lb., 23 micron was $2.92/lb., 24 micron was $2.52/lb.
In the Territory States, 20 micron was $3.39/lb., 21 micron was $3.38/lb., 22 micron was $3.24/lb., 23 micron was $2.72/lb., 24 micron was $2.57/lb., 25 micron averaged $1.97/lb., 26 micron averaged $1.89/lb. and 27 micron averaged $1.65/lb.
Wools from Texas and New Mexico averaged $3.08/lb. for 21 micron and $2.62/lb. for micron 23.
“The wool market surged at the beginning of the year, which brokers say was because of Chinese processors buying up big,” (ABC Rural Australia, 4/1/10). The Australian wool market softened toward the end of March. Theories are mixed: some say the Chinese bought too much wool and thus needs declined, others say, demand can taper off prior to the Easter holiday. Overall, prospects are good for stronger prices as wool supplies worldwide stay tight, Italians are back in the market and retail demand rebounds.