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rUJrTED STATES DEPASRTi4'lT OF AGRICULTURE
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
WOOL-36 December 11. 1939
ir.41/ CF FL LIB
DOCuMENTS DEPT 1 H E W 0 0 L. S I TU A T I 0 N
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u S DEPOSITORY Suary
The wool situation has not changed materially in the last month.
Prices of domestic wool at Boston declined slightly in November, but they
-'e .till about 40 percent higher than before the sharp rise in September.
.'Y1 -r.-~lrs for wool fabrics at the end of October were reported to be
-.1 ,'*:*-.'it to mainLtain a high rate of mill activity through January. With
su;,.lies of wool in the United States on November 1 smaller than on that
date in any recent year, a considerable increase in imports is probable
in the next few c-.nths.
Mill consumrription of a,-parel wool in the United States in October
was 38 percent L.l.her than in October 1938. The October 1939 rate of
consumption has been exceeded in only three months in the. last 15 years.
Consumption for the first 10 months of 1939 was 47 percent larger than
in those months last year, and it appears certain that apparel wool con-
sumptio: for the entire year 1939 will be close to the 1935 total of 659
million pounds, grease basis. Consumption in 1935 was the largest in
United States imports for consumption of apparel wool totaled 70
mT '.ion pounds in the first 10 months of 1939 compared with only 22 million
'.. -.s in the sare months last year and an average of 67 million pounds for
:'c:.*L months in the 5 year 1 3-.7
T' r, t-.A.ve' plans h.-rve cbet- -t o i:'ulat.od by the British Government for
the rel-ase of fine Aus'ralian wocls to the United States. About 10 million
pounds of such wool are available for imncdiLte shipment. The total amount
of Australian wool to be made available to the United States in the present
season has not been announced. Imports of wool into the United States from
Australia totaled about 73 million toun'ic in 1937 but iecliiei to 5 million
pounds in 1938. Aopro::imately 17 million pounds were imported from Australia
in the first 6 months of 1939.
In the event of continued restriction of United States imports from
British Empire producing countries, the import requirements of this country
could be satisfied by South American wools to a greater extent than in recent
years. Although wools from Argentina and Uruguay constituted about 30 per-
ce'nt of total United States imports of a-.pr:!. and carpet wool in the 5
years 1934-38, shipments to the United States were only 15 percent of total
wool ship.irents from Argentina arLdi Uruguay.
Sales in foreign wool markets were small in October and in early
November. Prices did not change materially on fine wools available in
the South African market. Some decline in prices was reported on Scuth
American wools but quotations were 1reelyr nominal.
Recent DevelopmPnts in Domestic Situation
Wool prices decline at Boston in November
Wool prices in the domestic market trended dow..'ari during most of
November. Sales of all grades were relatively s;all in the tarly pprt of
the month. Moderate sales of fine and half blood domestic wools wt-re re-
ported in the latter part of November, and prices on these wools became
steady to firmer, accoririn: to reports of the Agricultural Marke.ting
Service. Sales of medium and coarse grades were small during the latter
part of the month. Recent arrivals of South American wools have increased
available supplies at Boston.
The price of fine staple combing territory wool at Bsstjn averaged
$1.05 a pound, scoured basis, for the week ended December 2 compared with
$1.07 a month earlier and the Septc:berr high of $1.12 a pound. Territory
3/f blood combing wool averaged 86.5 cents a pound, scoured basis, in the
week ended December 2, 91*5 cents a month earlier, and 96.5 cents the last
week of September. Prices of gr-ded lines of donc tic Territory wools are
still about 40 percent higher than in August.
Sales of fleece wools in November were chiefly of country packed
mixed lots of 3/8 and 1/4 blood bright fleeces. Offerings of such wool
were quoted at 44-46 cents a pound, grease basis, delivered to eastern
markets in the latter part of November. This indicates a-decline of
about 1.5 cents a pound grease basis during "lio~-rbvr. The United States
average .rice of wool received by farmers was 27.6 cents a pound on
November 15. It was. 2..7 cents on October 15 and 20.7'cents on Novem-
ber 15, 1938.
Imports smaller in October
United States imports for consumption of apparel wool totaled 9.4
million pounds in October compared with 12 million pounds in ,September
and 4.8 million pounds in October 1938. Such imports totaled 70.4 million
pounds in the first 10 months of 1939 compared with only 22.3 million
pounds in the same months last year and an average of 67 million pounds
for those months in the 5 years 1933-37.
Imports for consumption.of carpet wool totaled 124 million pounds
in the first 10 months of 1939 compared with 46 million pounds in the same
months of 1938 and an average of 116 million pounds for those months in
the 5 years 1933-37. The sharp increase in imports this year reflects
the increase in domestic mill.consu-ption of carpet wool in 1939.
October mill consumption near record of recent years
The trend of domestic mill consumption of apparel wool continued
upward in October. The weekly rate of consumption of 6,797,000 pounds,
scoured basis, was 3g percent higher than in October last year and has
been exceeded in only 3 monthly periods in the last 15 years. Con-
sumption on a grease basis in the first 10 months of this year was equiva-
lent to 459 million pounds of shorn wool and 67 million pounds of pulled
wool. The consumption from January through October was about 47 percent
larger than in those months last year and 25 percent: larger than the 10-
month average for the 10 years 192g-37.
Mill orders for wool fabrics up sharply
Unfilled orders for woven cloths held by 119 mills reporting on
September 30 were one-third larger than on July 1 and were almost twice
as large as a year earlier, according to statistics reported by the Nation-
al Association of Wool Manufacturers. The increase in orders above the
corresponding date in 1938 was greatest for men's-wear fabrics. Advance
sales of such fabrics by reporting mills were larger in September than
in any month since 1935. Sales of auto cloths also were relatively large
In connection with the large increase in unfilled orders for men's-
wear fabrics on September 30 compared with a year earlier, the New York
Wool Top Exchange service stated that last year buying of spring piece
goods did not start until late October whereas this year the threat of
hi'h'-r prices r, .-ht heavy buying in September. Sales of men's-wear fabrics
declined in October and November, but there was seasonal improvement in sales
of woments-wear fabrics.
Unfilled orders for woven cloth reported by 119 mills beginning of
each quarter, 1938 and 1939 1/
Quarter : Men's wear Womens : Auto :
e--rinninG : Government: Other wear cloths Ttal
: : :: 2/ :
: 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
: linear linear linear linear linear
: .:rds yards yards yards yards
Jan. 3,944 10,924 6,o43 2,055 22,966
.r. : 2,293 6,293 4,139 1,894 14,619
July 995 13,286 8,041 1,315 23,637
Oct. 785 13,777 6,541 1,968 23,071
Jin. : 44 24,456 8,951 1,782 36,033
Apir. 565 22,905" 5,252 8-34 29,556
July 661 19,913 11,526 1,824 33,924
Oct. 635 31,887 9,260 3,244 45,026
Compiled from i.)..thl:, Sttistics of ':..1, M:,.,Lufacture, publishcld by the
National Association of Wool Manufacturers. Statistics are for cloth
containing by weight over 25 percent of yarns spun on the woolen and
worsted systems. Cloth less than 50 inches wide reported in equiva-
lent 54 inch yardia;e. The 119 mills reportin.:- are equipped with
J/ Reports are for specified dates near the beginning of each quarter.
2 Exclu.es cloth with pile or jacquard ler.i.-n.
South Africa sales
The South Africa wool market was dull and erratic during most of
Nove-tler but i...proved somewhat toward the end of the month, according to
cabled reports received from the knerican Lengti.on at Pretoria. Wool prices
at South African sellin- centers did not cn.anne materially in November. Aver-
age prices, in United States currency, of four types of 64-70s wool for the
week ended November 24-were 14 percent lower than prices reported at the
operir.n. of the current season on September 28, but prices for these wools
were about 2 percent .i,-her than the average prices for ilovenber 1938.
The United States and Japan were the principal purchasers at the
November sales in the Union of South Africa. Small sales also were made
to Belgium, Holland, n.!. Swedon, and to local wool scouring concerns.
Shipmr.ents to the United St.tus from the Union of South Africa in
October totaled about'6 million pounds, c:,"r.ar--i with less than a million
pounds for the. entire 1938-39 season. United States buying declined sharp-
ly in the first half of ITavc i'er.
Prices of 64-70s wools in South African markets in November
1939 with comparisons i/
: 1937 : 1935 : 1939
Item : High : Nov. : Open : Week ended
:(April): Av. :Sept. 2: Nov. : ov.0 : Nov.17 Nov.24
: Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents
Surer combing: 68.0 42.5 51.2 47.5 4s.2 47.2 46.7
Combing .....: 65,9 39.8 49.5 44.2 44.9 43.1 44.4
Short combing: 62.9 36.9 42.9 34.6 34.9 33.1 34.S
Super shorts: 56.8 34.0 38.0 31.0 32.3 29,8 30.6
Compiled from South Africa Crops and Markets and cabled reports from the
American Legation at Pretoria.
Prices converted from South African pence to cents at current rates of
1_/ Quotations are in cents per pound, clean basis.
Sales small in South American markets
Wool sales have been small in South American markets in the past 2
months. Prices declined in October and November from the September peak,
but quotations were largely nominal.
Purchases in Argentina in October and early November were chiefly
carpet wool for the United States. France bought medium crossbred wools
in October, but the United Kingdom has not entered the market so far this
season. The United Kingdom in recent years has been the largest purchaser
of Argentine wool, taking 27 percent of total shipments in the five seasons
1933-34 to 1937-38 and 33 percent of the 1938-39 shipments.
About 24 million pounds of now clip wool had been purchased in
Argentina for the United States up to :-'-t'ir 20, according to reports
from the office of the Commercial Attache at Buenos Aires. Most of this
wool was of the coarse grades, suitable for carpet manufacture, but could
be used to some extent for apparel purposes. About 60 percent of purchases
had been shipped by the latter part of I'j.er:.er.
Except for small sales to Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands,
the wool market in Uruguay has been practically at a standstill in the past
2 months, according to a cable received in the State Department from Monte-
video. Advance sales were fairly large in September, however, and it is
reported that about 12 million pounds of the current clip had been sold
for export by the latter part of November, United States purchases in
September and early October amounted to 7 or S million pounds, but very
little wool has been taken by United States buyers since that time. Ship-
ment of September purchases was to be made in late November and in December.
- 5 -
"',-^ OL f
Domestic .adi_ I- j r'.iJ to continue large
Statistics of unfilled orders for wool fabrics indicate that mill
cc, -z'...ition is likely to continue at a relatively high level in the next
few months. .':'l!.d orders held by reporting mills at the end of Octo-
ber were estimated to be sufficient to maintain the current rate of ac-
tivity throu-'-- January. Doi..estic business activity and consumer incomes
in 1940 are expected to average higher than in 1939, and this will help
to maintain dcinctiicmill consnuption of wool at a fairly hi-gh level in
the coming year.
If the October rate of mill consumption is maintained in Ilovember
and December, consumption for the entire year 1939 will be close to 650
million pounds, r-ri -r-basis comrarer with 475 million pounds consumed
last '--.r. 'r:.i 193' consumption vwill be larger than in any recent year
with the possible exception of 1935, when 659 million pounds were con-
Larm'r imports probable; situation like that in 1936-37
In view of the relatively small stocks on hand in the United
t.. si and prospects for a high level of mill consumption in the next
few months, imports of c,! ar: wool are likely to increase sharply before
the 19,0 domestic clip becomes available. Stocks of apparel wool in all
positions in this country on .-I- :. 1 totaled about 300 million pounds,
rr-e re basis. The Novemberr 1 stoc' s :%ere about 125 million pounds small-
er than a year earlier and the osr-allest November 1 stocks in recent years.
The do::estic suppl7- situation at the present time is somewhat sim-
ilar to that of late 1936. On ";:ve:'ber 1, 1936, stocks of apparel wool
were estimated at about 320 :iil.lion pounds, grease basis. General im-
ports of appear wool at principal ports in the first 6 months of 1937
were close to 152 million pounds, of v:hich about 69 million pounds were
from Australia. Import statistics ':- origin and grade for the first 6
months of 1937 are shown in the accompanyi' table.
United States consumption was relatively snall in the latter part
of 1937 and early Imonths of 1938, and imports into this country fror.
Australia in 1936 totaled only 5.3 million pounds. But imports increased
to 16.7 mill,-: pounds in the first 6 months of 1939. .'r shipmien-ts to
the United States from Australia are almost entirely of -ra2ds finer than
- 6 -
Receipts of foreign apparel wool at Poston, 1ew York, and Philadelphia,
by origin and grade, January-Juine 1937 1/
: iot finer: .
Origin : than 40s : 40s 46s ner Total
2/ to 44s to 56s than 56s
: ~00 lb. 1,000 lb. 1,000 1b. 1, 00 lb. 1,000 lb.
Australia .........: 372 112 1,793 66,938 69,215
Argentina .........: 10,641 932 5,990 7,745 25,308
Canada ............: 49 54 773 123 999
Great Britain and :
Ireland .........: 979 77' 2,316 171 4,244
iei: Ze"land .......: 4,804 2,709 6,804 487 14,804
South Africa ......: 16 10 210 4,922 5,158
Urugua;, ............: 2,222 2,082 10,477 4,820 19,601
All other ......... : 1,458 116 869 298 2,741
_tal: ...........: 20,541 6,793 29,232 65,504 142,070
Statistics compiled b-P the T:oston office of the A'gricultural Marketing
Service from imocrte.s declarations.
1/ Includes supports of i.assachusetts and other New England ports.
2/ Apparel class wool "not finer than 40s" 1'..ay be imported free of duty
if used for floor coverings, press cloths, k-nit or felt boots or heavy
lumbermen' s socks. In the last 5 years about one-fifth of the imports of
such wool have been duty--fre.
South Africa fine iools available for export
United States mill requirements for iorei-n fine wools in the cur-
rent season will likely be met largely b- wools from the Union of South
Africa. About 15 million pounds of South '.frican wool were declared for
export to the United States in october anc Noveiober according to reports
of the American Legation at Pretoria. South African wool is almost en-
tirely of merino wool of 60s-70s quality.
Production in the Union of South Africa fo_ 1939-40 is estimated
at 270 million pounds.. Since mill consiuuption in South Africa is small,
most of the clip is available for export.
Jhile the Australian ancd New Zealand clips have bS.en purchased by
the British Government, the current South African clip is being sold in
the open market.
Australian wool to be released to Uniter States
Tentative plans have no.; be,-n fon ulatud for the release of Aus-
tralian rwool to United States rA.ils in the current season. About 10 mil-
lion pounds of wool are available for imrJediate shipment, according to a
- 7 -
cable'- rs to ic State Departicent from the American Embassy at London.
The Brit:'.- : :-.rniment at present will not release any Australian wools
coarser: th'Ai (probably 5ts- Os), nor will it release any ;e:: Zealand
Prices to b.. paid for Australian wool by United States to.rs5 have
:ot been deter .lned as yet, but payment is to be made in United States
dollars. The total amount of wool which will be made available to this
country in the present season has not been announced.
South Amcrican 'o:l available for United States
In the evsint of continued restriction on United States imports of
wool from British F'r .-re countries, the import requirements of this coun-
try could be satisfied to a _. enor extent by South American wools than
has been the case in recent .-..s. Although imports from Argentina and
Uru gay constituted about 70 pcrc.-it of the total United States imports
of apparel and carpet wool in the 5 years 1934-3", shipments to the Unit-
ed States wore only 15 percent of total wool shipments fror Argentina and
Uruguay. The bul': of South American lool exports usually is taken by the
United Xin(1om and continental European countries.
Shiprments from Arg.entina j-id rugu.ay in the five seasons 1933-34 to
1937-38, vere -`istribute. as follows: United UFL>-dom 26 percent; Germany
20 ,-.rcent; Frarnce 13 percent; United States !A percent; and other coun-
tries 27 pe-rcent. I 1' -3, the rercenta-. v.ere as fo!loe:s: Jnited
KLindon 27; Ge:-ml.y 17; ..13. United States 17; and other countries
aermany not lik;1: to purchase a:, cons..iderable quantity of
wool in South -,i.can 'narkeis 'w le the European war continues. German
purchases of outi A.;eri.can voel usually a:iounted to about :") million
pounds a year. ,,en with the purchase of the Australian and i.e"i Zealand
clips Great Brit.ir. and F'ra:rce prcbably- .:ill be short on nrediun and coarse
gr-.'s of apparel v:ool, as the Au.stralian clip is lri--:ly rerino wool.
Hence, Great Br' t Ei.ii and Franc:e may continue to buy la; : cuantities of
South American o ol, wh ich is ] -e"'y crossbred. Ei j-1h buyers have not
entered the South American market so far this season, but French buyers
have p:.-'-:.-:d small quantities of nicdiuru crossbred wools.
United States iLportl of wool i-om Arrsenti.na in recent years have
been chiefly carpet wools and apparel-wools not finer than 40s; imports
frorh U:-uriuay have been chiefly fine and medium! grades. Statistics of ex-
ports frcn A:, .ntina by classes indicate that more than 90 million polnds
of fine crossbred -vool and 25 million pounds of merino wools are avail-
able .i,, i. 'lir in that market.
WOOL-36 9 -
ET'-orts of wool from Argentina and Uruguay to principal importing
countries, averae .i933-34 to 1937-38, and 1938-39
: Oct. 1 to S-p -t.- TO _
: __ArLt _ina : U imJL E : __ Total
Country :Average' : :Averrnae : :Aver[: :
: 1933-34 : 193-39 : 1933-34 : 1973-39 : 1933-34 : 1938-39
: to : I/ : to : I : to : 1/
1 .nA 7 "
: Mil.' lb. Mil. b. Mil. lb. Mil lb., .Mil I. Mil. lb.
Gerrnany ......: 49.1 44.7 28.3 36,2 77.4 80.9
United i:-1. -..: : 78.1 119.5 24.0 109,., 102.1 130.3
France .......: 46.0 57.4 7.2 6,5. 53.2 63.9
Italy ........: 24.0 7.2 12.3 1.1 36.3 3.3
Bl.;i .......: 20.0 22.7 8.2 15.3 28. 41.0
Jap'n .........: 8.6 1.5 7.9 1.4 16.5 2.9
United States 2/ 44.5 65.6 12.4 1q..6 56.9 82.2
Othcr .........: 1 2.1 25.7 60.8
Total .... ...-27__L 35 10.6 12,_ _. 96. 5.3
Gom-pil.ed froi. dcon-.;orcial reports suppli ed by the Buenes Aires office of the
1/ Pre-ininary. 2/ Incl- Cis snuall shipmnerts to Crnada.
Argentina: Exports of wool by classes, seasons 1936-37 to 1938-39
Class O : __ Oct. 1 S-t. 30_ __
_____ ___ __ __ 1.3: 1937-3. : 1938-39 1/
: Mil. 1b. Mil. lb. Mil. lb.
Fine (merino) .............: 22.1 29.9 24.9
Fine ........... ... .. .. : .7 79.3 5.0
Medium ..................: 21.2 23.6 29.7
Low .....................: S9.5 75.1 130.4
Criollo or native .........: 10.0 5.6 10.7
Bellies ...................: 10.7 9.9 14.8
Total all reool in :-'-: :
equivalent 2/ .........:.. 314.5 293.2 375.4
Argentine TIurnau of Statistics.
2/ Includs exports of washed nd. scoured wool not reported by class.
- 10 -
Prices of wool and textile raw materials in the United States,
specified periods, 1937-39
Territory, scouror basis
64s, 70s, 80s(fine) stale ..:
56s (3/8 blood) c-. ir. ....:
46s (Low 1/4 blood) ........:
Bright fleece, greasy
64s,70s,0Os(fine) delaine ..:
56s(3/8 blood) coming .....:
46s (Low 1/4 blood) ........:
Price received by farmers,
grease basis, 15th of month.:
7ool, Terr. fine staple 1/ .:
Cotton 7/S Middling 2/ .....:
Silk, Japanese J/ ..........:
Rayon yarn, 150 denier 4/ ..
* A *
: 1937 1938
: Cents Cents
High 1938 1939
1937 : Nov. : Set.: Oct. Nov.
Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents
32.0 19.1 33.2 20.5 24.3 28.7
Compiled from reports of the Agricultural Marketing Service, except as otherwise
Yearly averages are averages of monthly prices except United States farm price,
which is a "',i .:lted average.
1/ Scoured basis, Boston market.
2 Average at 10 markets.
White 13-15 denior, at New York, F..r..- u of Labor Statistics.
SDomestic yarn, first quality, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- 11 -
United States: Wool imports, consuription and machinery activity,
specified periods, 1937-39
: : 19 : Jan,-Oct. : Oct. : Sept. : Oct.
Item ___-7 -9 33g 1939 : 193 1: 9 19J39
:1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
Imports for consumption :pounds pruinds noun2s poouads ouCnds DpounTs pounds
actual weight: 1/
Apparel .................:150,160 30,811 22,300 70,429 4,777 12,041 9,380
Finer than !-Os ........:126,601 1S,-.' 12,977 49,936 2,652 8,423 7,77g
Not finer then 40s .....: 23,559 12,369 9,323 20,493 2,125 3,618 1,602
caziels hair ...........:172,091 71,908 46,297 124,433 10,436 17,260 10,266
Weekly av rra e-
Arnarel ...............: 4,772
Carpet .....,.......... 2,023
Apparel ................: I., 121
Carpet ............. .:105,197
Machinery activity: 2/ :
Hours operated per
-.machine in place / :
Worsted combs .........: 46.1
Worsted spindles ......: 32.9
Woolen spindles .......: 43.1
Woolen and worsted
Broad ...............: 39.0
Narrow ...............: 20.4
Carpet & rug looms- :
Broad ...............) 2.6
3,781 5,552 4,924
1,0o6 1,966 1,732
Weekly average in hours
28.0 25.9 59.3 50.7
10,5 10.1 12.4 12.3
S. 21.5 36.4 30.
15.0 22.8 19.0
Import figures from the aBueau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. Consumption and
machinery activity from the Bureau of the Census.
I r.ii-.ht of greasy, scoured, and skin wool added together.
SFigures for September based on 4 weeks, October on 5 weeks, January through
October, 44 weeks: 1936 totals based on 53 weeks. No adjustment made for holidays.
3/ "Weekly e eri.,e hours operated per machine or spindle in place" will take the
place of "Percentage of maximnu single shift capacity" previously reported. The
percentage of single shift capacity (40 hours) may be obtained by dividing the
above figures by 40.
LIrIRERSi,T OF FLORIDA
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