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Unprecedented levels of wool withdrawn or passed from the market resulted in the smallest offering South Island wool brokers have presented.
Of the original 13,900 bales put up for auction last week, 2100 were withdrawn on the day as sellers chose to hold, as prices were now well below long-term sustainable levels for wool growers, New Zealand Wool Services International chief executive John Dawson said.
The balance of the offering of 11,819 bales had 64% sold, and the remainder was passed in, Mr Dawson said.
Even the grower resistance could not halt further price slippage for crossbred wool, with lamb’s wool and poorer style fleece again being the most affected, PGG Wrightson Wool’s South Island sales team.
Chinese New Year celebrations, plus scant "hand to mouth" business, meant there had been little to underpin the current market.
Crossbred fleece (31-34 micron), including hogget wool, was 3%-5% cheaper, while 35micron and stronger was 2%-5% with poorer styles most affected.
Lamb’s wool was 5%-7% cheaper and crossbred oddments were 3%-5% cheaper and those with higher levels of fault most affected.
Roger Fuller, of CP Wool, said the ongoing subdued interest continued to concern those in the industry, with prices getting to levels not seen for many years.
"Lamb’s wool in particular, with substantial stocks in New Zealand and overseas, has seen prices drop dramatically in recent sales," Mr Fuller said.
The passings and withdrawn lots would begin to create a backlog throughout the country, he said.
There was limited competition at last week’s sale and buyers covered immediate shipment requirements only, mainly for Australasia, Western Europe and China, with support from the Middle East, India and the United Kingdom.
The next sale, on Thursday, comprises about 6800 bales from the North Island.
A range of prices. — Highway Farm Ltd (Otago), 37 bales Romney AA, 38.3 micron, 76.1% yield, 275 greasy, 361 clean; Verterburn Farming Co (Otago), seven bales crossbred A, 35.7 micron, 71.1% yield, 275 greasy, 387 clean; Roselle Farm (Otago), seven bales crossbred lambs, 31 micron, 81.2% yield, 308 greasy, 379 clean.