UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
WOOL-30 June 9, 1939.
DCIJMENTS DET T H E W 0 0 L SITUATION
U S DEggBCl; wrI at country points in the United States were large in
May and prices advanced. Prospects are for a fairly high level of mill con-
sumption in the next few months. The outlook for disposal of the 1939 dom-
estic clip continues favorable. The steady demand for wool in foreign markets
and relatively small supplies in Southern Hemisphere countries should be a
strengthening factor in the domestic wool situation, at least until the new
Southern Hemisphere clip becomes available in the fall.
It still appears likely that mill consumption of wool in the United
States will continue at a fairly high level through the summer and early fall.
The trend of consumption in the late fall and winter will depend partly upon
changes in business conditions in the second half of the year, which are ex-
pected to be at least as favorable as in the first half.
Consumption of apparel wool declined sharply in April from the high
level of the previous 8 months, but was only 2 percent below the April aver-
age of the last 10 years. Consumption on a scoured basis in the first 4
months of this year was 85 percent larger than in the same months last year,
but smaller than in the like period in 1936 and 1937. Mill orders for
fabrics for the fall season are reported to be much larger than a year earlier~
In the early months of this year, the spread between domestic and
foreign wool prices was wide enough to attract fairly large imports to the
United States. Imports of apparel wool for consumption from January through
April totaled 27 million pounds compared with only 5 million pounds imported
a year earlier. The decline in prices of domestic wools in March and April
reduced the spread between Boston and London prices. Imports are likely to
decline in the next few months.
Apparent supplies of wool in five Southern Hemisphere exporting coun-
tries were about 25 percent smaller this May 1 than last, and 4 percent smaller
than the May 1 average for the 5 years 1933-37. Uruguay was the only country
to report larger-than-average stocks on May 1. Exports from the 5 countries
to May 1 in the current season, totaling 1,565 million pounds, were 22 percent
larger than for the same months of the previous season and about 1 percent
above the average for the 5 seasons 1932-33 to 1936-37.
Supplies of wool in most foreign importing countries, except Japan,
are fairly large, but mill activity has increased in these countries in recent
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN DOMESTIC SITUATION
BACKGROUND.- After declining to a low level in the
spring of 1938, domestic mill consumption of wool in-
creased rapidly in the last half of 1938, and was at a
relatively high level through the early months of 1939.
Domestic wool prices advanced moderately in the second
half of 1938, but wool prices (in terms of dollars) in
foreign markets declined. The spread between domestic
and foreign prices widened sufficiently to attract fair-
ly large imports of wool to the United States in the
first quarter of 1939,
Mill consumption in the United States for the 12
months ended March 31 exceeded the total production and
imports for the year. Stocks of raw wool at the opening
of the 1939 season in April were much smaller than a year
earlier and probably were smaller than the average April
1 stocks of the preceding 5 years.
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Wool prices advance in May
Sales of domestic wool increased sharply in May with interest centered
chiefly in new clip wools in producing areas. Prices advanced on all grades.
Mixed 'lots'of 3/8 and 1/4 blood fleece wools available for immediate shipment
were sold in the last week of May for 30 to 31 cents a pound, grease basis, de-
livered to Eastern markets. This was about 3 cents a pound higher than a month
earlier. At the end. of May last year.- when domestic wool prices were at the
lowest-point of the season similar wools of the 1938 clip were offered at 23
cents around. Prices of graded 3/8 and 1/4 blood spot bright fleece wools of
combing length also advanced about 3 cents a pound, grease basis, at Boston in
The increase in prices of fine grades of wool in May was not'so great as
the increase in prices of medium grades. Original bag, fine territory wools of
good French combing length sold at 65-68 cents a pound, scoured basis, the last
week of May compared with 63-65 cents a month earlier. Similar woo1s of the
1938 clip sold a year earlier below 60 cents a pound, scoured basis.
The United States average price of wool received by farmers on May 15
was 21 cents a pound compared with 19.7 cents on April 15 and 18.8 cents on May 15,
Wool imports decline seasonally
United States imports of apparel wool for consumption 1/ totaled 6.3 mil-
lion pounds in April compared with 9.3 million pounds in March and only 1 million
pounds in April 1938. In the first 4 months of this year 27 million pounds of
apparel wool were imported for consumption, compared with only 5.4 million pounds
imported in the same months last year. Imports in the first 4 months of this -
year were larger than in 1934 and 1935 but were exceeded by the relatively large
imports of 1936 and 1937. The first quarter of the year is usually the season
of largest imports.
Receipts by grade and origin
The bulk of arrivals of foreign apparel wool at United States ports in
April were fine wools from Australia. Almost 6 million pounds of such wools
were received in the 4 weeks ended April 29. Total receipts of foreign apparel
wool at 3 ports in the first 4 months of this year are shown by origin and grade
groups in the accompanying table. Such receipts include wool imported for im-
mediate consumption plus wool entered into bonded warehouses for later disposal
and are not comparable with statistics of imports for consumption, given above.
wo Wool entered for immediate consumption plus wool withdrawn from bonded ware-
houses for consumption.
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Receipts of foreign apparel wool at Boston, New York and Philadelphia,
by origin and grade, January 1 to April 29, 1939 I/
:Not finer: : : Finer
40s to 46s to
Origin :than 40s than : Total
2/ 44s 56s56s
:1,000 lb. 1,000 lb. 1,000 lb. 1,000 lb. 1,000 lb.
Argentina .............. 10,701 242 521 84 11,548
Australia ..............: 46 5 14,091 14,142
Canada ...............: 15 1 85 63 164
Great Britain & Ireland : 408 86 310 65 869
New Zealand ...........: 2,378 913 824 5 4,120
South Africa ........... 488 488
Uruguay ...............: 287 261 680 71 1,299
All other .............: 285 51 26 13 375
Total .......... 14,120 1,554 2,451 14,880 33,005
Statistics compiled by the Boston office of the Bureau of Agricultural
Economics from importers' declarations.
/ Includes sub-ports of Massachusetts and other New England ports.
Apparel class wool "not finer than 40s" may be imported free of duty if
used for floor coverings, press cloths, knit or felt boots, or heavy
fulled lumbermen's socks. In the last 5 years about one-fifth of the
imports of such wool have been duty free.
Mill consumption reduced in April
Mill consumption of apparel wool, which had been maintained at a rela-
tively high level since last August, declined sharply in April. The weekly
rate of 3,914,000 pounds, scoured basis, was about 25 percent lower than in
March. It was the lowest .reported for any month since June 1938. The April
consumption this year, however, was 55 percent larger than in April 1938, and
only 2 percent below the April average for the 10 years 1929-38.
Consumption on a grease basis in the first 4 months of 1939 was equiva-
lent to 163 million pounds of shorn wool and 26 million pounds of pulled
wool. In the same months last year wool consumption was equivalent to 80
million pounds of shorn wool and 19 million pounds of pulled wool.
Unfilled orders for woven cloths held by 119 mills on April 1 were
twice as large as a year earlier but were much smaller than orders held on
April 1 in the years 1935 to 1937. The greatest increase over the previous
year was in orders for men's wear fabrics. An improvement in mill sales of
wool goods in May was reported by the New York Wool Top Exchange service.
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Unfilled orders for woven cloth, reported by 119 mills,
April 1, 1939 with comparisons /
: April 2, Dec. 31, : April 1,
Item : 1938 : 1938 : 1939
:1,000 linear 1,000 linear 1,000 linear
S yards yards yards
Men's wear .......: 8,586 25,300 23,470
Government ... 2,293 844 565
Other .......: 6,293 24,456 22,905
Women's wear .....: 4,139 8,951 5,252
Auto cloths 2/.....: 1,894 1,782 834
Total ........ 14,619 36,033 29,556
Compiled from Monthly Statistics of Wool Manufacture published
by the National Association of Wool Manufacturers. Cloth less
than 50 inches wide reported in equivalent 54-inch yardage.
1/ New series. These mills equipped with 27,000 looms.
Excludes cloths with pile or jacquard design.
It still appears likely that mill consumption of wool in this country
will continue at a fairly high level through the summer and early fall months.
The trend of consumption in the late fall and winter will depend partly upon
changes in business conditions in the second half of the year, which are ex-
pected to be at least as good as in the first half. Mill orders for men's
wear fabrics for the fall season placed so far in 1939 have been much larger
than a year earlier, when orders were small. Such fabrics, together with
women's wear fabrics for fall, are produced by mills during the late spring
and summer months.
The outlook for disposal of the 1939 domestic clip continues favor-
able, considering the relatively small carry-over of wool into the current
season and the prospects for a fairly high level of mill consumption in the
next few months. The steady demand for wool in foreign markets and rela-
tively small supplies in Southern Hemisphere countries should be a strengthen-
ing influence in the domestic situation in the next few months. The 1938-39
selling season in the Southern Hemisphere is about over and the situation in
foreign markets is not likely to change materially before the Southern Hemis-
phere clip becomes available in the fall.
The outlook for marketing of the new Southern Hemisphere clip which
begins in September is somewhat uncertain. The carry-over into the new
season will be small in most Southern Hemisphere countries, but stocks are
large in European importing countries. However, mill activity has increased
sharply in European countries in recent months. Crises in the European situa-
tion have been accompanied by an increase in the rearmament programs of most
countries and the stronger demand for wool goods for military purposes has re-
sulted in increased employment and mill activity in the wool manufacturing
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Opening prices were fairly well maintained at the third series of
London auctions which closed May 11. Prices of medium and low crossbred
wools and all slipped wools were 5 to 7- percent higher than at the close
of the previous sales on March 30. Prices of other wools were about the
same as in March. English buyers took 41,500 bales at the series, making
large purchases of greasy crossbreds and slipped wools. Continental buyers
took 20,000 bales. Purchases at the May series in 1938 totaled 30,500
bales for England and 28,500 bales for continental Europe.
The next series of London sales will open July 11.
Supplies and activity in importing countries
It appears from available information that supplies of raw wool
in European countries are fairly large. Retained imports of wool for the
United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy combined from July 1,
1938 to the latest date for which statistics are available (February or
March) were about 30 percent larger than in the same months of the previous
year and were 18 percent larger than the 5-year average 1932-33 to 1936-37.
Mill activity has increased in most countries in recent months. The
monthly index of top production in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium,
Poland and Hungary increased sharply in March to the highest level since
the index was first compiled in 1935, according to statistics published in
the Wool Intelligence Notes. A considerable part of the recent increase
in activity is reported to be due to Government orders for wool manufactures.
Stocks of raw wool in railway and canal depots in Yorkshire, England
on April 1 were more than twice the stocks a year earlier. They were the
largest reported for April 1 in several years, according to the Imperial
Economic Committee. Wool manufacturing activity in the United Kingdom has
improved considerably since the late sunner of 1938.
Imports of wool into Japan from July 1938 through February 1939
were 60 percent larger than the small imports reported for the same months
in the previous season, but were about 40 percent smaller than the 5-year
average 1932-33 to 1936-37. Available supplies at the end of March were
estirmted at cn.l- about one-third the normal requirements of the Japanese
industry according to the Oriental Economist. Imports into Japan are
under Government control and the use of wool in manufactures for Japanese
consumption is restricted.
Southern Heni sphere sales
Sales of the 1938-39 season in Southern Hemisphere centers are about
over. Prices were firm at the M iy series in Brisbano, Australia, and were
about equal to prices received for similar wools in April. .Offerings in
South Africa in the past month have been chiefly of short wools. Prices
of such wool in May were slightly lower than in April,
Quotations in the.wool market in Argentina were practically un-
changed in May. .Stocks of low crossbred wools in the Buenos Aires market
are reported to be practically exhausted.
Supplies in Southern Honisphere below average
Apparent supplies l/ of wool in five Southern Hemisphere exporting
countries were about 25 percent smaller on May 1 this year than last,
when supplies were relatively large, and 4 percent smaller than the May 1
average for the 5 years 1933-37. Uruguay is the only country to report
larger than average stocks on May 1. It is certain that the carry-over
into the 1939-40 season will be small in all other countries.
Exports from the five Southern Hemisphere countries for the current
season up to May 1 totaled 1,565 million pounds. This was 22 percent larger
than the exports for the same period last year and about 1 percent above
the average for the period in the five seasons 1932-33 to 1936-37. Argentine
shipments, 65 percent larger than a year earlier, were the largest for the
period in recent years. Increases in shipments from the other four coun-
tries this year compared with last were Australia, 15 percent; Union of
South Africa, 11 percent; New Zealand, 20 percent; and Uruguay, 40 percent.
Shipments front Uruguay, however, were almost 20 percent smaller than the 5-
Wool exports front five Southern Hemisphere countries to April
30 of the 1938-39" season, with comparisons
: : Average :
Country : Period : 1932-33 to : 1937-3 : 1938-39 I/
: : 1936-37 ::
: : Mil. lb. Mil. lb. Mil. lb.
Australia 2/ ..........: July-Apr. : 77.4: 674.0 776.1
Union of South Africa 3/: 222.0 190.2 211.1
New Zealand 2/ .........: : 241.9 212.9 256.3
Total 3 countries .....: 1.242.3 1,077.1 1,243.5
Argentina 4/ ...........: Oct.-Apr. : 219.2 150.1 248.5
Uruguay / .............: ." : 89.6 52.2 73.3
Total 2 countries .'....: i 308.8 202.3 321.8
1] Preliminary. 2/ Estinates of Dalgety & Co. 3/ Official
estimates. 4/ Comnercial estimates supplied by the Buenos Aires office-
of the Bureau.
to April 30.
ties sold for
from preceding season plus estimated production, minus exports
No account taken of wool sold but not yet exported and quanti-
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Prices of wool per pound in specified markets and prices of textile raw
materials in the United States, selected periods, 1937-39
Average : 1958 : 1989
Market and description Average : 1938 : 1939
_: 1937 : 1938 : May :Mar. : Apr. May
Boston: : Cents
Territory combing, scoured basis :
64s, 70s, 80s, (fine) ...........: 101.9
56s (3/8 blood) .................: 87.1
46s (low 1/4 blood) ............. 72.1
Farm price, 15th of month grease
basis ........................... : 32.0
Average quality, clean cost/ :
70s ............. ................: 62.1
56s ..............................: 46.3
46s ........ .. .... ............ .: 39.5
Bradford: 3 Scoured basis -
64s warp ......................: 64.7
50s ........... ................ : 43.2
Average price at selling centers
grease wool 4/ ................: 24.7
Sydney (delivered Bradford)
70s warp, clean basis 5/ .........: 67.5
Union of South Africa:
Average export price greasy wool .: 25.1
Price at selling centers, 70s
warp, clean cost 8/ ............: 9/63.2
Argentina Buenos ATres
Coarse crossbred, greasy 10/ ......: 11/21.7
Crossbred, greasy 13/
Fine 50/56s-60s ........... .....: 14/36.6
Coarse 32/36s-44s ............... : 14/28.2
United States: Textile fibers'-
Wool, territory fine staple 15/ ..: 101.9
Cotton, 7/8 Middling 16 .........: 11..2;
Silk, Japanese 13-15 7/ .........: 186.0
Rayon, yarn, 150 denier 18/ ......: 62.2
Centa Cents Cents Centa Cents
18.8 20.0 19.7 21.0
44.2 46.4 41.0 39.0 39.0
28.2 28.9 27.3 27.3 28.3
17.6 18.0 16.3
51.0 41.9 41.0 41.9
16.6 15.4 15.6 14.0
--- 40.5 39.1
12/15.0 15.7 12.8 12.7
18.8 18.7 17.9 17.9
17.0 17.3 15,7 15.6
Foreign prices have bern converted at prevailing rates of exchange. Yearly averageF
are averages of monthly prices except United States farm price which is a weighted
1/ Average of quotations for each series of London sales reported by the London of-
Tice of the Bureau. For months when no sales were held, figures are interpolated.
2/ Top and noil in oil. 3/ Quotations reported about the 25th of the month by the
London office of the Bureau. 4/ Reports of the National Council of Wool Selling
Brokers. 5/.Monthly averages "f weekly quotations from the Wool Record and Textile
World, EngTand. 6/ 8-month average. No quotations May to Aug. T/ 9-month average.
No quotations June to Aug. 8/ South African Ministry for Agriculture, 9/10-month
average. No quotations July and August. 10/Wools of South and Southeast Buenos Aires
Province. Revista Quinoenal de Precios -"Salaberry Bercotche & Cia. 11/4-month av-
erage. No quotations April to Nov. 12/11-month average. No quotations for Oct.
13/Boletin de Hacienda, Uruguay. 14/6-month average. No quotations May to Oct.
1/Scoured basis at Boston. 16/Average at 10 markets. 17/78 percent white at New Yacr
Bur. of Labor Statistics. l7Bur. of Labor Statistics.
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United States; Wool imports, consumption and machinery activity,
specified periods, 1937-39
S: 1937 : 1938 : Jan.-Apr. : Apr. :Mar. : Apr.
_Item 1:: : 1938 : 1939 : 1938 : 1939 : 1939
t 1,000- 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
Imports for consumption: lb. lb. lb. lb. lb. lb. lb.
actual weight: l/
Finer than 40s ......:
Not finer than 40s ..t
camels hair ........:
Consumption, scoured :
Apparel ............. :
Machinery activity 2/ :
Hours operated per
machine in place 3/ :
Worsted combs ......:
Worsted spindles ...:
Woolen spindles ....:
Woolen and worsted :
Carpet & rug loons- :
71,908 9,863 53,737
2,509 15,904 10,357
2,525 5,278 3,914
668 2,464 1,631
Weekly average in hours
19.9 38.5 37.4
15.6 25.7 22.9
Import figures from the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Connerce. Consumption and
machinery activity from the Bureau of the Census.
J/ Weight of greasy, scoured and skin wool added together.
_/ Figures for April based on 5 weeks, March on 4 weeks, January to April on
18 weeks; 1938 totals based on 53 weeks. No adjustment made for holidays.
31 "Weekly average hours operated per machine or spindle in place" will take the
place of "percentage of maximum single shift capacity" previously reported. The
percentage of single shift capacity (40 hours) may be obtained by dividing the
above figures by 40.
/ Revised figures.
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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 08861 5611