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Wool Prices Remain at High Levels

According to the latest monthly report from Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), the marketing and research arm of Australian wool growers, “All wool price indicators in the merino sector are registering at the 100th percentile bands, measured over the past five years.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly price summary shows wool selling at $4.67 a pound, unchanged from a month earlier. In comparison, cotton prices averaged 76.10 cents per pound for the week ending Thursday. This is the highest weekly average since June 27, 2014, when the average was 77.72. The weekly average was up from 75.49 last week and 61.61 cents reported the corresponding period a year ago.

AWI said erratic price movements in the merino fleece and skirting sectors and stable pricing in the carding and crossbred sector was the trend at Australian wool auction markets last week. The volatile nature of the market played out in both the physical and forwards this week on the return from the Easter recess, AWI noted.

The weight of wool on the market saw prices retract on opening but steady by week’s end. The forward markets remained firm with support levels into the end of the season unchanged, the report noted.

“Implied volatility is running at over 23 percent (the highest for nine months) and has more than doubled since January,” AWI said. “This could bring opportunities in the forward markets as exporters look to keep positions tight in this volatile environment.”

Wool has made a comeback of a sort in recent years as a sustainable fiber, with innovations such as collections made from recycled or repurposed wool.

The Woolmark Co. said Monday it is supporting the Care Label Project because it aligns with the natural benefits of wool—a fiber that resists both odor and creases and retains its as-new look for longer. Wool is championed as a fiber that does not need to be laundered regularly. The Care Label Project, supported by appliance makers, apparel designers and manufacturers, aims to inspire, educate and update the way clothes are cared for.