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NZ wool prices edge up at auction as volumes rise to a seasonal peak

Friday 29th January 2016

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New Zealand wool prices edged up at the latest weekly auctions as demand for some wool types underpinned prices, even as volumes rose to a seasonal peak.

The price for clean 35-micron wool, a benchmark for crossbred wool used for carpets and accounting for the majority of New Zealand's production, increased to $5.95 per kilogram at yesterday's wool auctions, from $5.90/kg last week, according to AgriHQ. The price was also ahead of the $4.85/kg achieved at the same time last year.

Wool production is hitting its peak during the main shearing season from December to early February, with the higher volumes weighing on some prices. However demand for wool kept prices elevated as the annual clip reduces in line with a decline in the sheep flock and early culling of stock in some farming areas experiencing dry conditions. This week’s combined North and South Island auction saw a total of 19,864 bales of wool on offer, the biggest auction volume for the season so far, with 94 percent sold.

"There was targeted buying which saw some wool types increase despite higher volumes on offer," said AgriHQ analyst Emma Dent. "However, the larger volumes did mean that some wool types eased."

Lamb wool slipped to $7.25/kg from a record $7.50/kg last week, although higher than the $6/kg level a year ago.

The value of New Zealand wool exports rose 8.2 percent to $814 million in 2015, making it the country's 14th largest commodity export, according to Statistics New Zealand data published yesterday. Milk powder, butter and cheese are New Zealand's largest commodity export group, worth a total $11.53 billion last year even after slipping 21 percent.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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