Australian Wool Market Review Week ending 21th February ...7/22/2003
    Wool prices remained steady on average at sales in Newcastle, Melbourne and Fremantle this week when buyers were presented with the largest offering since sales resumed in January.

The AWEX EMI dropped 2¢ (0.2%) to finish the week at 1158¢/kg clean. This reflected a gain of 8¢ (0.7%) in the North and a loss of 3¢ (-0.3%) in the Southern market, with their corresponding Regional Indicators ending the week at 1173 and 1145¢/kg clean respectively. The Western Market Indicator lost 4¢ (-0.3%), finishing the week at 1143¢/kg clean.

75,553 bales were offered for sale with 16.6% passed in, comprising 16.7% in Newcastle, 15.8% in Melbourne and 18.1% in Fremantle.

A number of people expected the market to start strongly on the back of business done with China at the end of last week. As it turned out, the EMI remained unchanged on Tuesday, rose by 2¢ on Wednesday and remained unchanged on Thursday. Thursday's performance was in spite of a half cent rise in the exchange rate and the offering of large quantities of very fine wool in Newcastle.

At 59.5¢, the US$ exchange rate is now pushing the 60¢ barrier.

Further business was done with China during the week. It appears that current orders are largely being filled from stock, with the local companies then replenishing their stock levels, rather than purchases being made to fill orders.

With the last Newcastle sale of the season, there was considerable activity from buyers for Italy. Also noticeable were significant purchases of fine wools for China. Much of the fine wool purchased for China was of the less stylish types resulting in a narrowing in the price gap between these wools and the better ones.

Good rain has been received over the last 24 hours in significant areas of South Australia, Victoria and south west New South Wales. Many falls of 30 to 50 millimetres were reported at many locations with more to follow as the rain moves east and north.

Sales continue next week in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle with 63,400 bales currently rostered for sale.