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NZ wool market improves at weekly auction

NZN 3/03/2017 Tina Morrison

New Zealand's wool market picked up at the latest weekly auction, achieving the highest clearance rate this year, on increased volumes.

Some 15,209 bales were offered at Thursday's double sale across the North and South islands, with 89 per cent sold, the highest clearance rate since December 22, according to AgriHQ.

At the last double sale event a fortnight ago, 2,500 bales were withdrawn by growers prior to auction, with 77 per cent of the remaining 13,000 sales being sold.

New Zealand is at the tail end of its main sheep shearing season, which typically runs from December through February.

Market conditions have been less buoyant this season, amid lacklustre demand from China, New Zealand's largest export market, and that's seen some woolgrowers hold back their bales from auction.

However, conditions improved at the latest auctions, with a pick-up in wool volumes and prices for lamb, strong crossbred and fine crossbred, AgriHQ said.

"This week's sale in the North and South Island had an increase in bales offered compared to the last double sale a fortnight ago," said AgriHQ analyst Sam Laurenson.

"The clearance rate also rose from the last comparable sale to 89 per cent for this week's sale. This increase in interest is a positive sign for the wool market with the typically busier period almost at an end."

Compared with the previous double auction, prices for 30-micron lamb wool rose 45 cents/kg, while North Island prices increased 40 cents/kg, AgriHQ said.

For 35-micron crossbred wool, South Island prices increased 25 cents/kg while North Island prices rose 20 cents/kg.

In the 12 months through to the end of January, wool exports were down 22 per cent to $647 million, the agency said.

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