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Wool Prices Dip Slightly as Season Gets Underway

After ending the last selling season on a quiet note, wool prices spent most of September as they did in August–in a slow, steady decline, though with a slight rebound during the last week of the month, according to reports from the Australian Wool Exchange.

The Eastern Market Index ended the month of September, the second in the 2014-2015 selling season, at $4.15 per pound, down $0.10 in the month (2 percent) and about 4 percent season-to-date. During the last week, however, prices rose by $0.06 per pound.

Much of the decline in USD terms has been due to currency fluctuations, however. In local currency, prices were for the most part flat to slightly up.

The declining euro and sluggish European market have hurt demand for the finest fiber count categories, though demand for medium and broad fibers had been weak due to poor quality caused by the unusually dry winter in key regions in Australia. However, a divergence in pricing between the fine counts, like Merino and courser fibers, has reportedly materialized.

Declining cotton prices have also put downward pressure on prices, particularly in China. However, at the Nanjing Wool Market Conference held there last month, there was concern over the lower wool production in Australia and enthusiasm over an anticipated uptick in demand for flatbed and circular knit wool made of fiber 19 microns and larger.