WESTERN Australia's wool market seems to be following a similar trajectory to last year, albeit at a significantly higher level, with brokers hoping it remains on course with stronger markets ahead.
Last year prices across the micron spectrum at the Western Wool Centre (WWC) bottomed out in early September and then began a steady climb back.
By week 11 of last year's Australian Wool Selling Program, there were solid gains for each micron segment and Merino cardings, with the Western Market Index (WMI) adding 27 cents to finish the week at 922c per kilogram clean.
It was week 11 of the current selling program two weeks ago and price rises across the board on the second day of trading at the WWC ranged between 20c (18.5 micron fleece) and 31c (18 micron fleece).
The Merino cardings price guide also fell into line with a 2c rise to 919c/kg - it was 668c/kg 12 months ago - and the WMI added 20c to 1392c/kg.
But the market had opened to a lack of buyer confidence on the first trading day last week and prices had retreated ahead of a passed-in rate reaching 20.3pc.
As previously reported in Farm Weekly, there had been reports of wool traders receiving orders for wool but it appeared they were only small orders and quickly filled, hence buyer reticence on day one last week.
But on the second day of trading the market turned around and prices headed back up.
In his market report Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) technical officer Andrew Rickwood noted "buyer sentiment was noticeably stronger than at yesterday's sale".
The passed-in rate shrank to 6.1pc, with WA's largest wool trader PJ Morris Wools back in buying mode after a relatively quiet period - by Morris standards at least - for the past few weeks and back on top of the WWC daily buyers' list.
Taking the first day's losses into account, the WMI finished up 3c for the week and the 18 and 18.5 micron merino fleece guides added 7c and 6c respectively to 1986c/kg and 1828c/kg - 815c and 749c above last year's end of week 11 prices, according to AWEX statistics.
The 19 to 21 micron fleece guides and the Merino cardings guide did not quite recoup losses and finished down for the week, with 19.5 micron fleece the biggest loser at 15c (to 1513c/kg) and all other losses of just single-digit scale.
There is some suggestion of more and bigger wool orders coming later in the year, so brokers are now more positive about where the wool market is headed.
"There was a much more positive feeling at last week's sale," said Westcoast Wool & Livestock auctioneer Danny Ryan who sold on the second day, along with Elders, Wool Agency and AWH.
"Everyone has their fingers and toes crossed that it will carry through to this week and I personally think it will," Mr Ryan said.
"A couple of our bigger buyers who have been quiet of recent times were back in the market last week.
"Also, with spring shearing going full tilt, the percentage of fresh wool on offer each week is now greater.
"The quality of some of the wools being shorn at the moment is phenomenal - the best I've seen - so that will help the market too."
This week's WWC offering will be a slightly larger at 5553 bales and the national offering of 37,109 bales is projected to be 2572 bales more than last week.