|Domestic Wool Market Steady
(July 1, 2006) The U.S. wool market was relatively slow through May with most activity at warehouse sales in New Mexico and Texas. Overall, clean-wool prices weakened an average 1 percent in May in the Fleece States, Territory States and in Texas and New Mexico.
In the Territory States, clean-wool price trends were mixed with some microns gaining up to 12 percent and other microns losing 5 percent. Nineteen-micron wool lost nearly 1 percent at $2.06/lb.; 20 micron gained 2 percent at $1.95/lb.; 21 micron lost 4 percent at $1.82/lb.; 22 micron lost 5 percent at $1.73/lb.; 23 micron lost 4 percent at $1.66/lb.; 24 micron gained one-third percent at $1.40/lb.; 25 micron gained one-fifth percent at $1.30/lb.; 26 micron lost nearly 1 percent at $1.22/lb.; 27 micron gained 1 percent at $1.10/lb.; 28 micron gained 12 percent at $1.05/lb.; 29 micron lost 5 percent at $0.83/lb.; and 30-micron to 34-micron wool was steady at $0.78/lb.
In Texas and New Mexico, 19-micron wool lost 3 percent to average $2.01/lb.; 21 micron gained 5 percent at $1.96/lb.; and 22 micron gained 6 percent at $1.89/lb.
Recall that clean-wool prices capture less than half of the total U.S. wool crop. Core tests are required to price on a clean basis. The warehouse in Roswell, N.M., reports on a clean basis, but a lot of wool from Texas and Colorado, for example, are still reported on a greasy basis.
Reporting on a clean basis, as well as the adoption of the Australian Wool Exchange-Identification (AWEX-ID) system would make U.S. wool comparable to other wools on the world market. AWEX-ID is a system to value typically non-measured and qualitative characteristics of greasy wool. The United States' adoption of AWEX-ID lags behind reporting on a clean basis.
Although AWEX-ID is not yet being utilized to its full potential in the United States, further work is being done to let foreign buyers know it is available in this country and that they can request wools with an AWEX-ID.
One U.S. wool warehouse – Roswell Wool – has prepared wool with AWEX-ID for its sale the past two years. Mike Corn, manager of Roswell Wool, says that by applying AWEX-ID to the wools at their sale, the foreign buyers felt more at ease in participating.
“AWEX-ID most definitely had a postitive affect on our sale. The longer we utilize it, the more the buyers are paying attention and actually looking at how the wool is classified,” Corn says.
The U.S. wool market still has the challenge of reducing its black fiber and polypropylene content. The U.S. black-fiber content is thought to be about three times that of the world average (Cole, R., 6/6/06).