AFTER a series of smaller weeks, the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) handled 52,021 bales at this week’s auctions, with 13 per cent passed in – and another large sale is expected next week.

At the current forecast of 59,144 bales next week is shaping up to be the largest sale in four years, AWEX senior market analyst Lionel Plunkett said.

The Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) fell a little to 1092 cents a kilogram as a reversal in sentiment took a toll on the market, resulting in a 9 cent dip.

Following on from last weeks’ 31c lift – the largest weekly price gain in 17 months – sales began strongly in the south. However, prices pulled back during the remainder of the week, Mr Plunkett said, particularly on Thursday when there was a reasonably sharp downturn.

“Discounts narrowed towards the broader edge where limited numbers maintained some support, however the falls of 10 to 30 cents resulted in 24pc of fleece types being passed in on the day,” he said.

“Merino skirtings have recently underperformed the fleece sector lately, however this week they were well supported. Gains of 20 to 30 cents were recorded despite the losses made in the fleece catalogue this week.

“Crossbreds were another area to receive continued interest. Thursday was more tentative, but they mostly managed to finish 5 cents ahead for the sale.

“Merino cardings made further progress with their drive into record territory – gains of 20 to 30 cents were made after a strong opening.”

Chinatex was the largest buyer, taking 4673 bales.

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