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UNITED STATES DEARTiMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Bureau or' Agricultural Economics
cOL-16 April 9, 1938
8 9V O rr F r.-- li E W 0 0 L S T U AT ION
The Comestic wool price situation was strengthened ii March by the
announcement of a Federal Government loan program for domestic wool and
by slightly highr prices in foreign markets. In view of the relatively
large carry-over of wool into the now season, domestic prices, the Bureau of
Agricultural Economics says, are not likelJ to show a material increase until
there is a marked improvement in the wool manufacturing situation.
Liill consumption of apparel wool in the United States in February
shio.cd some increase over the unusually low level of the Irevious 3 months.
The February consumption, however, was less than half as large as the
consumption in February 1937 and was the smallest February consumption in
the past 2' years of record.
United States imports of wool thus far in 1930 have boon negligible
compared with the large imports in the early months of 1,'37. In view of the
present small mill demand and the relatively lar;c stocks of domestic wool,
imports in the first half of this year, according to the Bureau, no doubt
will be much smaller than in the corresponding months of 1937 and 1936.
Exports of wool from the five principal Southern Hemisphere producing
countries for the 1937-38 season throu-..h Febru.ry were 23 percent smaller
than in the same period of 193'-37 and smaller for that period than in any of
the 10-ycars 1927-28 to 1936-37. Chiefly as a result of the small exports,
apparent supplies in the Southern : ris:..cre countries on March 1 were
estimated to be 27 percent larger than a year earlier, and they were 20 per-
cent larger than average M.arch 1 stocks for the 5 vc .rs 1232-3S,
DC :3STIC SITUATION
BCI'GROPITD.- In the spring of 1937 domestic wool prices
reached the highest lovel since 1929. As a result of the
weakness in iill demand and generally unfavorable business
conditions, wool prices declined rapi Tly both in docrstic
and foreign markets in the latter part of 1937 and early
months of 1938. DoLocstic prices in Fubruary of this year
wero about 4.0 percent bel-c:: the 1937 high point. Stocks
of raw wool in the United States have been relatively
large since the laTtor part of 1937, and supplies also are
large in Southern Hemisphore selling centers.
Sales and Prices
Wool prices in the domestic market were generally firr. after the first
week of :. rch but trading continued light, Avor-.ge prices for comr-ing
territory wools at Boston in iEarch were fully 40 percent lower than in
February 1937 when domestic prices wcre at their peak.
Quotations for country packed 3/8 an-d 1/4 blood bright flecce wvocls
in mixed grade lots from the Mi.ldle West vwre unchanged duri:. March at 24-26
cents a pound in the grease, delivered to eastern markets. Fine cc:.bing
bright fleece woola at Boston at the end cf i.!arch averaged 23 cents pound
grease basis, unchanged from a month earlier. Similar graded 3/8 blood vicols
acveraged 27 cents a pound.
Buying of territory wools in March was held chiefly to the filcr grades.
Sales 'creo small and prices showed little change during the month. Ungraded
fine territory ;oecls of staple ccrbing length in original bags were solid t
65 to 67 cents a pound, scoured basis, and shorter combing lengths frn.
63 to 65 cents at the end of ::irr.h. Prices of fine Texas wools in original
bra-- at Boston advanced 2 to 3 cents a pound, scoured basis, in I.I'rch.
A loan program.: on wool by th. Federal Governmcnt was a.:'rovcd by the
Commodity Credit Corporation in IT.Irch. The loan will be available te all
producers on woel from. the 1937 and 1938 clips and willl be made at bet:.ocn 15
and 22 cents a pound, on a grease basis, at .ostcn, Loa:.; will be m;ade after
wool has been classified and warehoused under suncrvision of the c.::-.r..odity
Credit Corporation. Producers may obtain loans on wocl stored at oest rn
and western concentration points with appropriate differentials based on
Outlook for Domestic Prices
Domestic wool prices are likely to be maintained near present levels
during the next few months. The Federal Government loan prcgrafm for
domestic wools will permit orderly marketing of the 1938 clip and should
prevent marked price declines which otherwise night occur with heavy
marketing of the new clip. In view of the relatively large carry-over of
wool into the new season, domestic prices are not likely to show a material
increase until there is a marked improvement in the wool manufacturing
Stocks of raw wool remaining in the United States at the beginning of
the new season on April 1 were much larger than a year earlier and probably
were above the average April 1 stocks of the past 10 years. The increase
in April 1 stocks over a year earlier was not so great as the increase on
January 1. The small mill consumption in the first quarter of 1938 was
more than offset by the decline in imports as compared with the same months
United States imports of apparel wool for consumption were only 3.5
million pounds in the first 2 months of 1938 compared with 50.8 million
pounds in January and February 1937 and 21.9 million pounds in 1936. In
view of the present weak mill demand and the relatively large stocks of
domestic wool, imports in the first half of 1933 no doubt will be smaller
than in the same period of 1937 and 1936.
Imports of carpet wool into the United States in January and February
were the smallest for those months in the past 15 years.
Consumption of apparel wool by United States mills in February averaged
3,023,000 pounds, scoured basis, per week. This was the highest weekly
average consumption reported since October but w.s less than half as large
as the consumption in February 1937 and was the smallest February consumption
in the past 20 years of record.
The consumption of apparel wool in the first 2 months of 1938 was
equivalent to 41 million pounds of shorn wcol, greasy shorn basis, and
10 million pounds of pulled wool, Mill consumption on a grease basis in
the same months of 1937 was equivalent to 92 ;..illion pounds of shorn wool
and 15 million pounds of pulled wool,
New lines of fall season fabrics for the nen's wear trade were
offered by mills the latter part of March. Prices were reported to be
considerably below those of a year earlier. Early orders for the new
season were reported to be small.
FO r.EIGIi SITV.LATI'O
Wool Sales and Prices
The second series of 193' LonlIon wool sales opened on I.irch 15.
Prices of average fleece wools at the opening were .:.ostly 5, per-ent lower
than at the close of the previous series on February 3, inferior wools
were generally 10 percent lower and prices of most sliprd '..ools were about
the same as in February. Despite some irregularity during the s-cond week
of the sales, prices at the close of the series on March 3'0 w; re generally
equal to or not more han 5 percent below February prices.
Prices of merino wools at the March sales in Lon'.o: '.:-e about 35
percent low r than in March 1937 while prices of most cr-os:br.d wools were
about 30 r :cent lower than a year earlier. The next s%:rius _f London
sales will 5pen n n :..ay 10.
Southern FYcnIi:. ; ,'.s sales
Wool prices in Southern Hemisphere markets were irregular and
slightly lower in February but an increase in prices was reported in the
first half of March.
AVerage prices for fine warp wool'in Australia and the Union of South
Africa in February vwre lower than in January and were about 30C percent lower
than in February 1937. Increas d buying by Jai.a, in Austra ia vwas
accompanied by higher prices in the early part of March. ;.A th.. close of the
sixth series of the 1937-38 season at Sydrne- on March l.', prices of all wools
were fully equal to the opening _rices of the series on January 24. Special
descriptions suited to Japanese needs were 5 to 7-1/2 percent higher than in
England and Jap2n purchased considerable wool at th;e :ie:-; Zaland
sales in l.i;rch, and prices wore ro orto.d to be slightly lii,-hc:- than in
The South American markets continued quiet in F;b:-uary and prices
Supply Situation in Southern Hmisjphore Co-untric,
As the 1937-33 Southern Hemisphere selling seasoai dra-:s t a close,
semi-official r Iorts of downward'revisions in 1937 wcol reduction
estimates for some countries are bcin- received. T Ci:sc estimates probably
are based on the smaller receipts at selling centers so far this s-ason
in most of the Southern Hemisphere countries. Practic-,ly all reports,
however, indicate that stocks held on farms are largo, -ind it is possible
that when final returns are available'for the season there ,'.ill b- little
change from the original -cstimatcs. Final wool production estimates for
1937 for the Southern Hemisphere countries will not be available until figures
of exports, receipts and stocks are complete for the entire 1937-38 season, as
these data constitute the basis for estimating production in those countries.
It is reported from British sources that the 1937 clip in the Union of
South Africa now is officially estimated to be smaller than that of 1936,instead
of larger as originally estimated by the South African Department of Agriculture
in July. The decrease as compared with last season was rep-rted at about 13
percent, as a result of drought, which is reported to have adversely affected
the spring or long-wooled clip. The autumn clip (April-May), on the other hand,
is expected to be unusually large.
The pre-shearing estimate of the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers
of Australia, indicating that the 1937 Australian clip was about 4 percent
larger than that of 1936, was confirmed in December. It is also supported by
the fact that receipts into store for the first three-quarters of the season,
through February wore 6 percent larger than those a year earlier. In New
Zealand the fact that the 1937 larib crop was the largest on record tends to con-
firm the indication of largo sheep numbers and wool production in 1937.
Some reduction in the original estimate of the Argentine clip may be
necessitated as a result of a reported smaller clip from the Far South. According
to the latest census, returns of which are just becoming available, the number
of sheep in Argentina on June 30, 1936, was 43,790,000. This number is larger
than the official estimates for 1934 and 1935 but is 1 percent smaller than the
number reported in the 1930 Census. The 1937 Uruguayan clip has recently been
reported to be about 10 percent larger than in 1936. Production in the five
principal countries of the Southern Hemisphere in 1;37 is now estimated at
2,061,000,000 pounds, or about 1.5 percent larger thin in 1936.
Notwithstanding any reported downward revisions in the 1937 Southern
Hoeiisphere clip, supplies are large for this time of year as evidenced by stocks
at selling centers on February 28. Stocks on that date wore estimated to be
over 50 percent larger than a year earlier. These visible stocks, however,
constitute only about one-third of the apparent supplies, or the estimated
quantity for disposal during the remainder of the season. Apparent supplies 2/
are estimated to be 1,256,000,000 pounds. This is 27 percent larger than a year
ago and 20 percent larger than average March 1 stocks for the 5 years 1932-36.
Receipts at principal selling centers through February show a reduction
of 1 percent for the five countries combined as compared with the same period of
1936-37, and a reduction of 4 percent as compared with the average for the sane
period of the five seasons 1931-32 to 1935-36. There has been an increase in
receipts at Australian centers of 6 percent as compared with the same period of
1936-37. Receipts were smaller by only 1 percent in New Zealand, 10 percent in
the Union of South Africa, 19 percent in Argentina and 24 percent in Uruguay.
_/ Wool Intelligence Notes,
2/ Carry-over plus estimated production minus exports to February 28. No
deductions m~-1, for relatively small qu ntity used for domestic consumption
and wool sold but not yet exported.
3/ Season begins July 1 in Australia, Now Zealand and the Union of South
Africa, and October 1 in Argentina and Uruguay.
Exports from the five Southern Hemisphere countries for the 1?37-38
season through February amounted to only -?3 million poun'.s, 23 percent smaller
than in the same period of 1936-37 and smaller for that period than in any of
the 10 years, 1927-28 to 1936-37. In 1929-30 and 1934-35 experts ::erc small
but not so small as this season. :h-us far onl:y 42 percent of estimated
Southern IierLisphere supplies have been shipped compared with 5'; -rc nt during
the same period of 1936-37 and the 5-year average of 53 p.; rct.
Supplies in Imyrrting Countries
Supplies of raw wool in European importing countries h-.ae increased
seasonally since December. A sharp reduction in wool im orts intD t he United
Kingdcm aand Belgium since August probably has prove:t. d- a pilin--u- of raw wool
stocks in those countries despite recent declines in mill activity. In France,
however, there is evidence of some accumulation of raw wool stock's. The short-
age of wool supplies in Germany has been relieved in recent mc~ths as a result
of larger raw wool imports.
Stocks of raw wool in Japanese warehouses declined rapidly in the latter
part of 1937. This decline in stocks probably was brought abo t by the reduc-
tion in raw wool imports. Exports of wool to Japan from the five principal
Southern Hemisphere producing countries through January of the current season
were little more than one-fourth as large as in the same months cf the previous
season. Stocks in Japan at the end of January were estimated t" be smaller
than a year earlier.
Wool imports into the principal importing countries, except the United
Kingdom and France, were larger in 1937 than in 1936. The increase over 1936
resulted from the large increase in imports during the first half 'f 1937 as
compared with a year earlier. In the last half of 1937 the Unit. d States, United
Kingdom, Belgium and Japan reported smaller imports than in the: .-- ..c monthss
of 1936. See table 5, page 11.
Manufacturing Activity in Importing Countr it s
A slight improvement in mill activity and employment in t.c wv'ol t extile
industry was reported for the United Kingdom in February. Tihe r-itish. Ministry
of Labour reports that 20,4 percent of insured workers were rci-'t'r-d as
unemploy: o n February 14 compared with 21.1 percent on Janu-ar 17 .'id 7.4 per-
cent in Febiuary 137. The British wool manufacturing industry oprra~-ed at a
very high level in 1936 and in the early part of 1937, but activ'.ity declined
sharply in the final c'q.ar'er of 1937.
Reports from western Europe and Italy indicate a f,.,rthi- reduction in
mill activity and incrsascd unermploymrcnt in the wo-ol coxtile industry during
February, according to Agricultural Attache' L. V. Stecro at Ecrlin. German
mills, on the other hand, maintained wool textile activity ir F:-bruary. about at
previous levels, largely as a result of domesti- demand.
Table 1.- Price of wool per pound in specified markets and prices of
textile raw materials in the United States,selected periods,1936-38
Average. Average. 1937 ----..
markett and description A Av
a-rket and description 1936 1937 M i:'. Jan. Feb. Clar.
Boston: : Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents
Territory combing scoured basis
64s, 70s, 80s (fine).......:
56s, (3/8 blood) ..........
463 (low 1/4 blood)........:
United States: Farm price, 15th :
of month, grease basis ......*.:
Average quality, clean cost 2/:
70s .... ......... ..
56s ................ :
Scoured basis -
64s warp ................ ...:
50s ................... :
32.0 31.7 21.6
Average price at all selling
centers,greasy wool 4/......:
Sydney (Delivered Bradford) _5/:
70s warp,clean basis ......:
Union of South Africa:
Average export price,greasy
wool ........ ........ .. :
Price at selling centers 6/ :
70s warp, clean cost ......:
Buenos Aires Market
Buenos Aires,South and South-:
east coarse crossbred
32s 50s ................:
Fine crossbred,greasy -
50/56s '- 60s ,........... :
Coarse crossbred -
32/36s 44s ...........:
Textile fibers -
Wool,territory fine staple 7/:
Cotton, 7/8 Middling 8/....
Silk, Japanese 13-15 9/.....:
Rayon yarn 150 denier .....:
24.7 29.7 21.1
25.1 26.7 19.6
23.3 17.7 14/16.4
40.2 20.8 16/20.7
Table 1.- Price of wool per pound in specified markets and prices of
textile raw materials in the United. States, selected periods,
Foreign prices have been converted at prevailing rates of changeg. Yearly
averages are ave2-ges of monthly prices, except United States farm price
which is weighted average.
l/ Average of quotations for each series of London sales reported by the
London Office of the Bureau. For months when no sales wore held fi-ures are
interpolated, 2/ Top and noil in oil.
3/ Quotations reported about the 25th of the monthly the London Office of the
Burc -u. A/ National Council of ol Sellin- Brokers of Australia.
W/ Wool Record and Textile World, Bradford.
6/ South Africa Ministry for Agriculture. Z/Scoured basis, Boston market.
8/ Average at 10 ma-kets. 9/ 78 percent white, at HIew York.
10/ 7-month average. No quotations April to August.
11/ 8-month average. No quotations Mr~y to August.
12/ 9-month average. No quotations June to Lugu t. 13/ 10-month average.
14/ Average for 3 weeks. 15/ 5-mont-h average. Only months quoted.
-1/ First week of February. 11TH quotations for remainder of month.
Table 2.- Exports of wool (grease and scoured combined) from Argentina
and Uruguay to principal consuming countries, first 5 I.onths
of season, October 1 to February 28, 1936-37 and 1937-38
: Argentina : Uruguay Total
Country of destination 1936-37:1937-38 :1936-37 1937-38: 1936-37: 1937-38
millionn Million iil lion Mililion million Mill million
: nouuns pounds pounds pounds pounds nuds
United Kingdom ........: 44-5 23.5 12.7 8.1 57.2 31.6
Germany ...............: 7.1 23.0 8.8 14.6 15.9 37.6
France ..................: 17.0 14.2 2.9 1.7 19.9 15.9
Italy ....,......... : 10.1 1.8 2.7 2.2 12.8 4.0
Belgium .. ......... : 10.7 4.1 5.7 2.4 16.4 6.5
Netherlands .............: 0.6 0.5 0.9 1.4 1.5 1.9
Japan .................: 16.7 1.5 23.0 1/ 39.7 1.5
United States .......: 52.5 3.3 22.3 0.3 74.8 3.6
Total..............: 159.2 71.9 79.0 30.7 236.2 102.6
Other c6untries........: 7.2 5_ .2 9.9 1.7 8.1 6.9
Grand total ........... : 166.4 77.1 79.9 32.4 246.3 19.5
.Trade reports supplied by Buenos Aires Office of the Bureau of Agricultural
1/ If any included with "others,".
United States: Wool imports, consumption and machinery
activity, specified periods, 1936-38
: Jan.-Dec. 1937 : 1938
.Lo : 1936
Imports for consumption,
actual weight 1/-
Apparel .................... 110,712
Finer than 40s ......... 84,759
Not finer than 40s .......: 25,95 3
Carpet, including camels hain 143,276
Consumption, scoured basis 2/
Weekly average -
Apparel .................. 5 351
Carpet ...................: 2,029
Apparel .................: 278,250
Carpet ............... ....: 105,504
Machinery activity 2/ -
Worsted co:.ibs .............: 121.1
Worsted spindles ...........: 83.5
Woolen spindles ............. 118.2
Looms, broad .9.....,......: 93.9
Looms, narrow ..............: 51.9
Carpet and rug looms .......: 68.3
Febe Jan. Feb.
Percent Percent Percent Percent percent
Import figures from official records of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic
Commerce. Consurm tion and machinery activity figures from the Bureau of the
1/ Weight of greasy, scoured and skin wool added together.
/ Figures for January based on 5 weeks, February on 4 weeks, January to
December 52 weeks. Ho adjustment made for holidays.
Table 4-- Wool: Production in specified countries and the world,
averages, 1926-30, 1931-35, annual 1935-37
eA : averages
and countries :1926-30 1931-35 : 1935
SOUTHERlN lHEiISPHEREE -
Australia ............: 926.4 1,010.5
New Zealand ...........: 258.2 281.1
British South Africa.... 294.1 269.5
Argentina ............ :5/327.0P /360.G
Uruguay ..............: 140.1 110.6
Total above countries:l,94 .8 2,0312.5
Total Southern Hemis.:2,015.8 2,112.2
: 1937 1/
Million h.illion Million
pounds pounds pounds
971.1 975.0 2/1,014.0
304.3 302.9 / 314.0
237.8 264.0 / 230.0
/364.o 6./373.0 6/ 375.0
113.0 116.2 7/ 128.0
1,990.2 2,031.1 2,061.0
:TCETH-2 HEMISPHERE :
United States -
Shorn .............: 310.7 367.3 364.7 '360.3 366.3
Pulled ............: 53.6 643 66.0 66.2 66.2
Total..........: __364.!3_ 4 2.1 430.7._ 426.5 432.5
Total Northern He.rtis.:1,214.5 1,270.5 1,281.1 1,302.5
Estimated world total
excluding Russia and
China .................. :3,230.3
This table includes wool shorn during the calendar year in the northernn Hemis-
phere and that shorn during7 the season beginning July 1 or Oct.ober 1 of the
given calendar year in the Southern Hemisphere. Pulled wool is included in the
total for many important countries at its grease equivalent. For a table showing
all countries see The Wool Situation dated December 10, 1937.
2/ Pre-shearing estimate of Australian wool selling brokers and wool growers
converted to pounds grease equivalent.
3/ Estimate based on sheep numbers at date nearest shearing time and other
1/ Wool Intelligence Notes quoting official sources.
5/ Estimates of the Argentine Ministry of Agriculture.
6/ Estimates furnished by Buenos Aires Office of the Bureau of Agricultural
Economics. These are the revised estimates of the Buenos Aires Branch of the
First National Bank of Boston.
7/ Estimate based on report from Vice Consul Adam Jr. of a 10 percent increase
above a year ago.
6/ Estimate based on returns from 25 countries which furnished approximately
85 percent of world production exclusive of Russia and China in 1936-37.
Table 5-- Wool imports retained by principal importing countries,
annual 1934-37 July to December 1936 and 1937
: : : 9- : July Dec.
1934 1935 1936
Country and item : 1934 : 1935 1936 : :
: : Prol. : 1936 1937
:Miillion Mililliion llion Million Million
:p funds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds_
United States -
Apparel wool ........:
United Kiingdom -
Imports ................ :
Reexports .............. :
Retained imports ..
Domestic exports ....:
Imports shorn .......: 336.9
on skins- wool:
equivalent 2/ : 43.7
Reexports and exports ..: 45.9
Import balance .........: 334.7
Imports ................: 316.2
Reexports and exports ..: 9.8
Import balance .........: 306.4
Imports ................: 164.8
Reexports and exports ..: 99.6
Imriort balance ......... : 65.2
Imports 3/ ..........: 147.2
Imports 3/ ...........: 181.5
788.5 864.1 913.9
_268.9 283.2 276.9
519.6 580.9 637.0
_45.8 __. 5___ 46.6
336.8 104.1 128.0
255.8 100.4 76.9
113.0 51.1 _37.4
142.8 49.3 39.5
Compiled from official sources and from "Wool Intelligence Notes," published
by the Imperial Economic Committee of the United Kingdom.
1/ Imports for consumption. The item "not finer than 40s" is included with
apparel wool for all years. In statistics published by the Department of
Commerce, from 1930 to 1935 this item was included with carpet wools.
Estimated at 4/9 of weight of wooled skins.
Reexports are negligible.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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