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2 October 2023
Wool Street Journal
Market Commentary

Market update: Encouraging demand for crossbred wools

Over the past few weeks values achieved at New Zealand wool auctions continue to surprise, with strong competition for most good style crossbred wool types. Many of the merino types pouring into South Island woolstores are similarly sought after.

Mid-micron wool, measuring from approximately 28 microns and coarser, is attracting less attention, and by clean price per kilogram the value of some mid-micron wools has dipped below that of a few crossbred types.

Since the February Napier floods closed the Awatoto scour exporters have faced immense pressure for wool scouring space. After delays to the scour rebuild some exporters are shipping wool off-shore in a greasy state via North and South Island wool dumps, though this has only slightly relieved the situation.

Dumping greasy wool, pressing three farm bales together for containerisation and shipping, is an old and efficient process. However, the majority of coarse wool types have been forward sold and shipped in a scoured state for several decades, whereas fine wools are usually shipped greasy. 

Despite these scouring delays, and disrupted shipping schedules, the auction market in both Napier and Christchurch has improved over the past few weeks, with well-prepared body wools attracting the greatest attention.

Demand for second-shear crossbred, preferably with zero vegetable matter contamination (VM) and of good colour is high, as is demand for good colour, low VM, full length crossbred wools.

Although significantly discounted from the better style wools, poor style crossbreds have recently gained some traction, as have a few of the finer crossbred mainly hogget types measuring around 32 to 33 microns, perhaps indicating renewed interest from Chinese mills.

Some brilliant weather has enabled South Island fine wool growers to shear well ahead of normal. 

Combined with reduced wool flows due to scouring challenges, this has put significant pressure on wool processing timings in our stores which are extremely full. The Christchurch store is most affected, and we are doing our utmost to process wool in a timely manner.

To keep up-to-date with what is happening at our weekly wool auction subscribe to our market report email!

Grant Edwards - General Manager of PGG Wrightson Wool 

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