Wool Report

Tasmanian wool was a central pillar at the Centenary Auction in Melbourne last week, celebrating the 100th milestone of the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia.

Roberts Ltd was delighted to be one of nine Australian brokers invited to present 17 lots of wool at the prestigious auction, which was held in the Australian Institute of Music in Melbourne’s King Street – the home of Melbourne wool auctions from 1914 to 1972.

Our catalogue clearly represented the pinnacle of the nation’s wool with 100 per cent clearance achieved.

It was great to see Tasmanian wool accredited under The Schneider Group’s Authentico Integrity Scheme again attract some of the highest premiums. One premium Merino Authentico-accredited lot from a Tasmanian grower that was passed in at the previous week’s auction sold at the Centenary Auction to spirited bidding and a much higher price than previous.

Repeatedly we are seeing premiums paid for Tasmanian wool that is produced sustainably, ethically and is fully traceable back to the farm so consumers can connect with woolgrowers’ stories.

Despite the ongoing predictions and acclamations of doom and gloom in the wool sector, I continue to remain upbeat about the industry and its ability to rally in the face of global turmoil.

There is no doubt that we need to nurture and protect the Tasmanian brand in the international marketplace to ensure there are penalties for those who seek to “copy cat” premium Tasmanian produce or add impurities through the supply chain. Traceability to prove provenance is essential.

It is also crucial that we support our wool trading friends in China, Italy, Japan and other countries that have been impacted by the ongoing spread of the coronavirus.

The China Wool Textile Association recently advised that 70 per cent of its members surveyed reported they have returned to work – but with limited staff.

“Most wool processing companies plan to return to work by the end of February. However, 15 per cent have no plans at this stage,” the update concluded.

Online sales have been impacted due to the shut down of transport and distribution companies, and trade fairs, show rooms and wholesale markets have been cancelled.

While our thoughts and best wishes remain with every person affected by coronavirus, it is extremely pleasing to see that the impact on Australia’s wool growers has been minimal. A shift in order origin from China to other areas, such as India and Europe, has assisted in maintaining demand and competition at auction.

Prices have also remained strong as the EMI jumped six cents a kilogram last week to close at 1574 c/kg after sales in Melbourne and Sydney. Again, it was strong demand for quality Merino fleece of 18.5 micron and finer that saw prices up to 10-30c a kilogram dearer.

This week wool auctions across the country have been placed on hold due to a system outage on major industry software supplier, it is anticipated sales will resume next week and there may be timing alteration to next week’s Roberts Ltd auction sale and we will communicate this to our wool growers when this is known.

So, if Tasmanian growers continue to do what they do best, and that’s focus on sustainably producing the world’s best natural fibres, the future remains bright