UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
WOOL-31 July 8, 1939.
~ FINVOFFLLE-- THE WOOL SITUATION N
DOC.'. ENTS DEPT
DOC &T --- ---- ---- -
..- nrA I Summary
I US qFoqf wool in the United States held about steady during June after
rising moderately in May. Domestic supplies of raw wool continue to be smaller
than a year earlier. Imports of wool thus far in 1939 have been larger than in
the corresponding months of 1938, but mill consumption of wool also has been con-
siderably larger. Prospects are for a fairly high level of domestic mill con-
sumption in the next few months, but perhaps not at so high a rate as in the first
quarter of 1939.
The weekly rate of mill consumption of apparel wool in the United States in
May was almost 30 percent higher than in April but was slightly below the first
quarter of the year. Consumption on a scoured basis in the first 5 months of this
year was 80 percent larger than in the same months last year but smaller than in
the like period in 1935-37. Mill orders for fabrics for the.fall season continue
much larger than a year earlier.
The carry-over of wool into the 1939-40 season will be small in the Southern
Hemisphere but stocks are fairly large in importing countries. However, mill actir
vity has increased in European countries and the United Kingdom. The foreign
political tension favors the building up of stocks of raw wool in manufacturing
centers in these countries. Demand has been strong at recent Southern Hemisphere
Australian wool production for the season beginning July 1, 1939 is ex-
pected to be about 980 million pounds, grease equivalent. This is an increase of
4 percent over the estimate for 1938-39 but is slightly smaller than the average
production for the 5 preceding seasons. The estimated increase in production over
last year is expected to be more than offset by the decrease in the carry-over,and
available supplies for the 1939-40 season in.Australia may be slightly smaller than
for the season just closed. Australia-produces about one-half of the wool clip of
the Southern Hemisphere.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN DOMESTIC SITUATION
BACKGROUND: After declining to a low level in the spring
of 1938, domestic mill consumption of wool incr-'sed rapidly
in the last half of 1938, and was at a relatively high level
through the early months of 1939. Domestic wool prices ad-
vanced 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 fairly large imports of wool to the United States in
the early months of 1939.
Mill consumption in the United States for the 12 months
ended March 31 exceeded the total production an'd imports for
the year. Stocks of raw wool at the opening of the 1939 sea-
son in April were much smaller than a year earlier and were
smaller than the average April 1 stocks of the preceding 5 years.
Wool prices irregular in June
Sales of wool in the domestic market in June were much smaller than in May.
Prices were somewhat irregular. Quotations for graded fine and half blood terri-
tory wools on the Boston market at the end of June were 1 to 2 cents a pound lower
than a month earlier. Prices of three-eighths blood and coarser grades, on the
other hand, were equal to or slightly above late May prices. Good french combing
length fine territory wools in original bags were sold at 64-66 cents a pound,
scoured basis, at the end of June compared with 65-68 cents a month earlier and
60-63 cents a year earlier.
Sales of graded lines of bright fleece wools were small in the second half
of June and quotations were largely nominal and unchanged during the month. Quota-
tions on mixed lots of 3/8 and 1/4 blood bright fleece wools available for immediate
shipment from country points, advanced in mid-June to 31-32 cents a pound, grease
basis, delivered to eastern markets. At the end of June such wools were available
at 29.5 to 30.5 cents a pound, compared with 30-31 cents at the end of May and 26
cents at the end of June 1938.
The United States average price of wool received by farmers on June 15 was
21,9 cents a pound compared with 21 cents on May 15 and 18 cents on June 15,1938.
Imports larger than a year ago
United States imports of apparel wool for consumption I/ totaled 6.5 million'
ji Wool entered for immediate consumption plus wool withdrawn from bonded warehouse
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pounds in May compared with 6.3 million pounds in April and only 1.2 million in
May 1938. In the first 5 months of this year 33 million pounds of apparel wool
were imported for consumption compared with only 7 million pounds imported in the
same months last year and an average of about 39 million pounds for the 5 years
1933-37. The increase in imports this year compared with last reflects the wider
spread between domestic and foreign wool prices thus far in 1939.
Mill consumption resumed high level in May
Mill consumption of apparel wool increased sharply in May. The weekly rate
of 5,061,000 pounds, scoured basis, was almost 30 percent higher than in April but
was slightly below the first quarter of the year. The May consumption was more than
50 percent larger than in May 1938 and was 18 percent larger than the May average
for the 10 years 1929-38.
Consumption on a grease basis in the first 5 months of 1939 was equivalent
to 199 million pounds of shorn wool and 32 million pounds of pulled wool. In the
same months last year wool consumption was equivalent to 103 million pounds of
shorn wool and 23 million pounds of pulled wool, Consumption in the first 5 months
of the year was more than 10 percent larger than the 10-year average for those
Wool, apparel: Mill consumption, imports for consumption
and price per pound received by producers, January 1938-May 1939
: 1938 : 1939
: Mill con- : Imports : : Mill con- :Imports,
Month i sumption, : actual : Average : sumption, : actual : Average
grease i weight : price : grease weight : price
Basis/ : 2/ basis /
: Mil. lb. Mil. lb. Cents Mil. lb. Mil. lb. Cents
Jan. 24,6 2.1 21.6 53.0 6.1 20.0
Feb. 27.8 1.5 20.3 51.5 5.2 20.2
Mar. 27.3 0.8 19.2 54.9 9.3 20.0
Apr. : 25.2 1.0 18.5 35.0 6.3 19.7
May 33.3 1.2 18.8 52.6 605 21.0
June 39.8 2.0 17.7
July 45.3 2.9 18.7
Aug. 63.1 3.2 19.5
Sept. : 507 2.8 18.7
Oct. : 48.0 4,8 19.7
Nov. 60.1 4.1 20.5
Dec. 63.4 4.4 20.2
Year :508.6 30.8 19.1
Jan.-May: 138.2 6.5 247.0 33.5
Mill consumption compiled from reports of the New York Wool Top Exchange. Imports
from the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce.
1/Consumption of scoured and pulled wool has been converted to a greasy shorn
/ Weight of greasy, scoured and skin wool added together.
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With the 1939 domestic wool clip now moving rapidly to eastern markets,
wool prices in the United States in the remainder of 1939 will be influenced
largely by domestic mill consumption of wool and by price changes in foreign
markets. Domestic supply condition 'continue more favorable than a year
earlier. The carry-over of wool into the 1939 season in this country was
much smaller than in 1938 and larger mill consumption of wool so far in 1939
has more than offset the increase in imports. Domestic wool production for
1939 is expected to be not greatly different from that of last year.
Mill consumption of wool in the United States is likely to continue
at a fairly high level through the summer and early fall months. Mill orders
for wool fabrics for the fall season placed so far in 1939 have been much
larger than a year earlier when orders were small. The trend of consumption
in the late fall and winter will depend partly on business conditions in the
second half of 1939, which are expected to be at least as good as in the first
Supplies of wool in Australia at the beginning of the 1939-40 Southern
Hemisphere marketing season in September are expected to be slightly below
average. Australia produces about one-half of the Southern Hemisphere clip.
It appears certain also that the carry-over in most other Southern Hemisphere
countries will be small. On the other hand, stocks in Europoan importing
countries and the United Kingdom are fairly large. But mill activity is
relatively high in these countries and demand has been good at recent sales.
Wool is an important war material in most countries,and a considerable
part of the recent increase in foreign mill activity has been due to Govern-
ment orders for wool manufactures. In view of the transportation difficulties
involved in obtaining supplies of raw wool in time of war, the present
political tension in Europe favors the building up of stocks of raw wool in
Final sales of the 1931-39 season were held in Australian selling
centers in June. Prices advanced about 5 percent on good quality wools at.
the Sydney sales in the first half of the month. The advance was fully main-
tained at the Brisbane sales which closed June 29. Japan and Germany wore
the chief buyers at the June sales. The 1939-40 selling season will open at
Sydney on August 28.
The volume of sales in the Argentine market was seasonally small in
May and June. There was a good demand for coarse crossbred wools, and prices
advanced where such wool was available. Stocks of coarse crossbred wools
were reported to be about exhausted in the early part of June.
No public wool auctions were held in London in June. The next series
at London is scheduled to open on July 11. It is reported from Bradford that
prices of wool and tops are firm in that market. Prices of crossbred wools
grading 50s to 58s have been strengthened by a recent order for 3 million
pounds of superior 50s tops for the English Government.
Australian wool production to be l rgcr in 1939-40
Australian wool production for 1939-40 the season beginning July
1, 1939 is expected to be about 980 million pounds, grease equivalent,
according to the pre-shearing estimate released in June by the joint con-
ference of Australian growers and brokers. This is rn increase of 4 per-
cent over the estimate of 940 million pounds for 1938-39 but is 1 percent
smaller than the average production for the five preceding seasons, 1933-34
to 1937-38. Merino wool will constitute about 82 percent of the new clip
or about the sane percentage as last season.
Australia produces almost one-half of the commercial wool clip of
the Southern Hemisphere. Production estimates for other Southern Hemi-
sphere countries are not yet available for 1939-40.
Total Australian supplies smaller
Present indications are that available supplies for the 1939-40
marketing season in Australia will be about 1 percent smaller than for
the season just closed and 2 percent smaller than the average for the
preceding five seasons. The estimated increase in production is expected
to be offset by a decrease in the carry-over from a year earlier. It was
estimated by the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers and Growers that
by the end of June stocks at selling centers would be reduced to about 18
million pounds compared with 71 million pounds a year ago. The average
carry-over at selling centers on June 30 for the 5 years, 1933-37, was 28
Australia: Wool production, carry-over at selling
centers and supply for disposal, 1933-39
Season begin- Production : Carry-over at : Supply for
ning July 1: : selling centers : disposal
: Million pounds Million pounds Million pounds
1933 :996 13 1,009
1934 1,015 6 1,079
1935 971 28 999
1936 : 983 22 1,005
1937 1,010 14 1,024
Average : 995 28 1023
1938 : I 940 71 1,011
1939 : / 980 2/ 18 998
Compiled from official sources and Reports of the National Council of Wool
Selling Brokers of Australia.
j Preliminary estimate of National Council of Australian Wool Selling
Brokers and Growers converted to pounds, grease equivalent.
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Carry-over small in most countries
The carry-over of wool into the 1939-40 season is expected to be small
in other Southern Hemisphere countries, except Uruguay. Apparent supplies 1/
in the Union of South Africa on June 1 were smaller than a year earlier but
about the same as average June 1 supplies in the 5 years, 1933-37. Supplies
in New Zealand and Argentina, which produce chiefly crossbred wools, were
more than 25 percent smaller on June 1 than a year earlier and were almost
20 percent smaller than the June 1 average for the 5 years, 1933-37.
On the basis of export statistics to May 31, supplies remaining in
Uruguay on June 1 were slightly larger than a year earlier and more than
twice as large as the preceding 5-year average. Uruguay produces about 6
percent of the Southern Hemisphere wool clip.
Exports exceed 5-year average
Exports from the five Southern Hemisphere countries for the current
season up to June 1 totaled 1,707 million pounds. This was 17 percent larg-
er than the exports for the same period last year and about 2 percent great-
er than the average for the period in the 5 seasons, 1932-33 to 1936-37.
The strong demand for crossbred wools in the current season is reflected in
export statistics for New Zealand and Argoetina. Exports from these coun-
tries to June 1 of the current season were about 12 percent above the 5-
year average. Exports from Australia and the Union of South Africa, which
produce chiefly merino wool, were slightly below the 5-year average.
Wool exports from five Southern Hemisphere countries to
May 31 of the 1938-39 season, with comparisons
S: Average : "
Country P Period : 1932-33 : 1936-37 1937-38 : 1938-39
: to : I J/
: : 1936-37 :: -
l : Mil.lb. Mil.lb. Mil.lb. Mil.lb.
Australia 2/ ................July-May: 827.3 803.9 736.8 828.7
Union of South Africa 3/ ....: i 240.9 245.7 207.9 225.7
New Zealand 2/ ..............: : 262.0 269.4 254.9 291.6
Total 3 countries .......... : : 1.330.2 1,319.0 1,199.6 1.346.0
Argentina 4/ .................:Oct.-May: 244.2 246.6 192.2 278.7
Uruguay 4/ ................... 96.1 109.1 65.7 82.0
Total 2 countries ........... = 340.3 355.7 257.9 360.7
1 Preliminary. g/ Estimates of Dalgety & Go. 3/ Official estimates.
/Commercial estimates supplied by the Buenos Aires office of the Bureau,
/ Carry-over from preceding season plus estimated production minus exports
to May 31. No account taken of wool sold but not yet exported and quan-
tities sold for domestic consumption.
Supplies arge, activity hgh in moat importing countries
Import statistics indicate that supplies of raw wool in European
countries are fairly large. But mill activity is now at a fairly high level
in most countries. The monthly index of top production in the United King-
dom, France, Belgium, Poland and Hungary was 94 in-April compared with 77.9
a year earlier and an average of 97. for April in the years, 1935-37. The
March index of 115 was the highest since the index-was first compiled in
1935, according to statistics published in the Wool Intelligence Notes. A
considerable part of the recent increases 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 May 1 were twice as large as the stocks year earlier. They were the
largest reported for aig/Aince 1934,- according to- the Wool Intelligence.
*Notes. Machinery employment in the wool industry in June was the highest
for 2 years, according to a report from 0. 0. Taylor, Agricultural Attache
Stocks of raw wool in Japanese warehouses at the end of February -
the latest date for which statistics are available were the smallest re-
ported since 1931. Imports of wool into Japan in the first 4 months of
1939 were 45 percent larger than a year earlier but were less than half
as large as the average for those months in the years, 1933-37. The de-
cline in imports compared with earlier years is the result of government
control and licensing of imports.
SUPPLE! EITTARY DATA
Prices of wool per pound in specified markets and prices of textile raw materials
in the United States, selected periods, 1937-39
A- a e 19C 8 1In
Market and description :. 5-!
-_ 1937 :
Boston: : Cents
Territory combing, scoured basis
64s, 70s, 80s, (fine).,,...,,...,,: 101,9
56s (3/S blood) ...................: 57.1
46s (low 1/4 blood) ...............: 72.1
Farr price, 15th of month grease
basis.....0..... .............. ...: 32.0
Average quality, clean.cost 2 :/
70s ....., ....,,,.....,.., ,,,,,,: 62,1
46s...,*,. .,,... ... .. .. ..,: 39,5
Bradford: ./ 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 6/.........: 6/ 67,5
Union of South Africa:
Average export price greasy wool,,: 25,1
Price at selling centers, 70s
warp, clean cost /............: 9/ 63,2
Argentina Buenos Aires
Coarse crossbred, greasy O10/......: 11 21.7
Crossbred, greasy 13/
Fine 50/56s-60s.................... 14/ 36.6
Coarse 32/36s-44s...............: li 2S,2
United States: Textile fibers -
Wool, territory fine staple 15/.,: 101,9
Cotton, 7/9 iid.lling 6/.....,.,,: 11,22
Silk, Japanese 13-15 1/ ........: 15e6.0
Raynn, yarn, 150 denier IS/......: 62.2
1939 .June Apr. : May : June
Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents
19.1 1i.0 19.7 21.0 21.9
.16.6 14,g 14,6
-- 41,0 41.9
15.3 .14,o 13.5
-7 39,1 --
14.g 12.7 Nom.
Foreign prices have been converted at prevailing rates of exchange. Yearly averages
are averages of monthly prices except United States farm price which is a weighted
l/ Average of quotations for each series of London sales reported by the London of-
fice of the Bureau. For months when no sales were held, figures are interpclated.
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 aver.n.,s of weekly quotations from the Wool Record and Textile
World, Ingland. 6/ 3-month average. No quotations May to Aug. 7/ 9-month average.
No quotations Juno to Aug. 8/ South African Ministry for Agriculture. 2/ l0-month
average, No quotations July and August. 10/ Wools of South and Southeast Buenos
Aires Province. Revista Quincenal de Precios Salaberry Bercetche & Cia. 11/4-month
average. 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.
15/ Scoured basis at Boston. l6/Average at 10 markets. 17/7g percent white at New
York Bur. of Labor Statistics. 1:/ Bur. of Labor Statistics.
United Statess Wool imports, consumption and machinery
specified periods, 1937-39
Imports for consumption Ib.
actual weight 1I/ :
Finer than 40s ..,....126,601
Not finer than 40s *,. Eg S
Carpet, including I
camels hair ........ 172,091
Weekly average- I
Apparel ............. 4,772
Carpet ............. 2,023
Carpet .........'...... 105,197
Machinery activity 2/
Hours operated per I
machine in place 3/ :
Worsted combs ..... : 46.1
Worsted spindes ...s 32.9
Woolen spindles .... 43.1
Woolen and worsted s
Broad .......... .., 39.0
Narrow ............: 20.4
Carpet & rug looms- a
Broad .............. ) 28.6
Narrow ........... )
1 1938 1 Jan.EMay : May : Apr. May
1 1938 : 1939 1938 : 1939 : 1939
71,908 12,647 67,534
Weekly average in hours
1g.g 19.3 32.7 15.8
13.9 20.7 12.6
Import figures from the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Connerce.
machinery activity from the Bureau of the Census,
1 / Weight of greasy, scoured and skin wool added together.
f/ PFiures for April based on 5 weeks, May on 4 weeks, January to May on 22 Ieaks;
193. totals based on 53 weeks. No adjustment made for holidays.
3/ Weekly average hours operated per machine or spindle in place" will take the
place of "percentage of maximum single shift capacity" previously reported. The
porcantaTe of single shift capacity (40 hours) nay be obtained by dividing the
above figures by 40.
4/ Revised figures.
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UNIvERSI v OF FI ORiDA
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