British Wool held its first sale of the 2021 season on Tuesday 6 July.

The sales report described prices generally holding firm, but the clearance rate was well back on the two previous sales, which recorded clearances of 86% on 15 June and 96% on 25 May.

The report also highlights that demand was expected to be curtailed due to UK processors having an annual shutdown in the coming weeks and, as such, the offering was reduced to 965m kilos of wool compared with 1.154m in the previous sale.

The first sale of new-season wool can often be tricky, as buyers react to the new trading season and sometimes operate at a lower intensity.

Wool types on offer

The sale entry included 559t of new-season wool and 406t of old-season wool, which was predominately made up of mountain-type wool.

The report says that the latter mountain-type wool sold well at an average of 50.4p/kg, while the average greasy price for the new-season wool was slightly back at 72.9p/kg.

The overall average on the day was 61.2p/kg.

The clearance rate by wool type was 44% for fine wools, 67% for medium wool, 60% for Mule wool, 37% for hill wool and 96% for mountain wool.

Irish trade

Meanwhile, the Irish trade also remains stagnant, with white lowland wool trading in the main from 15c/kg to 20c/kg.

The prospects for hill-type wool are particularly poor, with merchants offering in the region of 5c/kg and not overly interested in grey or black-type wool.

Wool prices in Europe are in stark contrast to Australia, where there has been a notable recovery in the market and prices have returned to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Australian Wool Exchange statistics report prices increasing by as much as 309c/kg year on year. This represents an increase of about 27.1%.

High-micron wool, which generally comprises Merino wool, sold from $13/kg (€11/kg) to upwards of $17/kg (€14.30/kg) on average.