News Flash

Wool brokers back wool industry charity foundation

22 June 2020
The National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia and its members have stumped up in support of the wool industry’s own charity, the Michael Manion Wool Industry Foundation. The money donated by NCWSBA will help the Foundation continue its vital work supporting those in need in rural Australia. The President of NCWBA, John Colley, presented a cheque for $8,000 to the Chairman of the Foundation, Ken Stock, at the Melbourne Wool Selling Centre on Thursday, 18th June. The money was…

Australian wool production forecast to fall again in 2020/21

04 May 2020
The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) met on Wednesday 29th April 2020 and reviewed its forecast of Australian shorn wool production for 2019/20. It also decided on its first forecast for 2020/21. The Committee revised its forecast for 2019/20 to 281 mkg greasy. This is a 6.3% decline on shorn wool production in 2018/19. It is higher than the 272 mkg greasy that the Committee forecast in November, in line with the AWTA test data to end March. The Committee’s first…

Industry News

Tentative signs of higher retail sales as consumer’s become a little more confident

23 November 2020
We are into the second month of the Autumn/Winter retail season in the Northern Hemisphere, a critical season for sales of wool clothing. Given what has happened this year with the awful toll of COVID-19 and the associated restrictions and now the second wave of infections rising in Europe, the US and, to a lesser extent, Japan, it is time to take stock on how consumer confidence and retail sales are shaping up in the major wool consuming countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Consumer…

Higher volume of medium Merino wool despite drop in total wool tested

16 November 2020
The weight of wool tested by AWTA in October was down by 18%. This large drop continues the yo-yoing seen in the weight of wool tested so far this season, after a lift in September which was preceded by falls in July and August. The drop in October seems to be in part due to wet weather holding up shearing in some areas. As well, there are reports of a shortage of shearers and shed-hands due to restrictions on travel across state borders and from New Zealand. For the season to date, the weight…

Global cotton stocks lift to 95% of annual use

16 November 2020
Cotton prices, as judged by the CotLook A Index (a global benchmark indicator for cotton), have recovered strongly since the COVID-induced slump in March-April this year. After hitting a low of 60.75 USc/lb (133.9 USc/kg) in the first week of April, the CotLook A index has lifted by 28% to 76.7 USc/b (169.06 USc/kg) by the end of October. Even so, this is well below the average of 88.2 USc/lb (194.40 USc/kg) over the past decade. Cotton prices have recovered in recent months due to better mill…

Merino wool prices at 60th percentile despite falls

19 October 2020
Australian wool prices have fallen sharply in the past 12 months, even after the recovery in recent weeks. The largest declines have been for crossbred wool, particularly at the broad end. Where does that leave prices in historical terms? The EMI in A$ has fallen to the 64th percentile, down from the 89th percentile a year ago That is, current prices are higher than 64 percent of prices since 2000. So, while prices are substantially lower than 12 months ago (and even more compared with 2 years…

Wool prices in all producing countries hit hard by COVID pandemic

12 October 2020
As I have reported over the past few months, Australian wool prices have fallen back in the past six months, despite the increase in the past 4 weeks. Have these price declines also been seen in some of the other major wool producing countries? In South Africa, which produces mainly Merino wool of 21 microns and finer, prices have followed a similar trend to that seen for Australia. The South African 21 micron wool indicator has fallen back in the past few months, in line with the trends in…

Auction wool sales up on 2019/20, but wool tests down

05 October 2020
While demand (or lack of it) has been the focus for the industry in recent months, there have been significant developments on the supply side in Australia. According to the data from AWEX’s Weekly Market report, there has been 326,126 bales offered for sale at auctions so far this season, with 279,981 bales sold. Over 10% of the wool offered this season to date is re-offered wool. These season-to-date figures compare with the statistics from last season to week 14: 334,705 bales offered and…

Raw wool demand drops, but tentative signs of improvement from China

14 September 2020
The latest data on wool exports by the five major wool producing and exporting countries shows the extent of the decline in raw wool demand by the major wool processing countries so far in 2020. However, there are some tentative signs of improvement in the raw wool demand by China, the largest wool processing country. Data on Australian wool exports in July shows that the volume of exports to all destinations were down by 8%. This decline came despite an 8% increase in exports to China. This is…

Wool price competitiveness improves strongly

07 September 2020
One positive result of the larger decline in wool prices compared to that of the decline in prices for competing fibres is that wool price ratio against cotton and synthetics has fallen back sharply since March. The fall in the ratio of the wool prices has been stunning, particularly against cotton. The current price ratios for 21 micron and 28 micron wool against cotton are the lowest since May 2011. The price ratio for 18 micron wool is the lowest since March 2014. These are dramatic falls…

Wool prices down more than prices for other textiles

31 August 2020
Textile fibre prices have been hit the hardest of the various commodities by the COVID-19 pandemic, probably because of the severe impact of COVID-19 restrictions on clothing retail sales around the world, and the impact on consumer spending generally. Wool prices have fallen sharply in the past few months, particularly in A$ terms. In A$ terms, the EMI is down by 57% since the start of 2020 and down by 16% since the start of the 2020/21 season. In US$ terms, the EMI is 37% lower than at the…


NCWSBA President's 2019/20 Report - A Year of Turmoil

31 August 2020
It is with very mixed emotions that I deliver to you the President’s report for the last 12 months. It has been a year of turmoil, that continues to evolve on a day by day basis as I write this report. Our beloved wool industry continues to be smashed on all sides. To believe we survived drought, fires and floods, only to be confronted by COVID – 19 really put the icing on the cake. 2020 will long be remembered, for all the wrong reasons. Wool is basically totally discretionary spend and with…

Rowan Woods appointed as NCWSBA President, Stephen Keys as NCWSBA Vice President

31 August 2020
The NCWSBA Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday, 27th August, followed by a meeting of the NCWSBA Board. It was a very different event compared with the event in past years. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting was held as a Zoom videoconference and the AGM was restricted to the business of the AGM. Unlike previous years, there was no updates from AWTA, AWEX and AWI, nor did we have presentations by the Finalists for the NCWSBA Wool Broker Award (the Award has been postponed to…

NCWSBA Wool Broker Award now open for 2020

06 April 2020
The NCWSBA Wool Broker Award for 2020 has been launched! This is the ninth year the Award has been offered. This year’s Award is again sponsored by AWTA (as the industry sponsor) and Sheep Central (as the media sponsor). The Award recognises excellence in wool broking by a younger member of our industry – be it client servicing, auctioneering, innovation or other aspects of wool broking. This year’s Award winner will be granted an all-expenses paid trip to Kyoto, Japan to attend the 2021 IWTO…

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The National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia


National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia



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