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Wool Prices Slip in October

Wool joined other fibers of both the natural and manmade varieties in October who saw their prices decline, according to reports from the Australian Wool Exchange.

The Eastern Market Index ended the month of October, the third in the 2014-2015 selling season, at $4.09 per pound, down $0.06 in the month (1.4%).

Some of the decline in USD terms has been due to currency fluctuations, however. In local currency, prices were down by less than .9%.

The averages hide the divergence in pricing between fine and course fibers. Demand for the finest Merino counts, buoyed by the luxury market, reportedly strengthened in the month despite the decline in the Euro and sluggish European retail markets. Demand for medium and broad fibers, on the other hand, have been weaker due to poor quality caused by the unusually dry winter in key regions in Australia. However, pricing for courser wool fibers, which has demonstrated some volatility in the past two months, showed signs of stabilizing in October.

Declining cotton and other fiber prices have weakened demand for wool and put downward pressure on prices, particularly in China, the world’s largest processor and consumer of wool.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has kept the 2015 import quote of wool and wool top unchanged from this year’s, at 287,000 tonnes of wool and 80,000 tonnes of top.