23 Jan 2015

Mixed fortunes for wool and deer

7:27 am on 23 January 2015

A more favourable exchange rate has helped to give wool prices a boost at this week's North Island sale - but it hasn't done deer farmers any favours.

Direct from the sheep's back, the super fine Merino wool grown at Earnscleugh Station in New Zealand is destined for the catwalks of the world.

Photo: RNZ / Steve Wilde

The New Zealand dollar has weakened against the main trading currencies in particular the US dollar.

That and steady demand from off-shore customers has improved prices across the board.

The exporter, New Zealand Wool Services International, reports that fine cross-bred fleece and shears sold for up to four percent more.

Coarse cross-bred fleece was one to three percent dearer and lambs' wool prices also rose by as much as seven percent for finer lines.

Ninety-seven percent of the $10,000 bales offered for auction were sold.

NZ dollar rides high against euro

While the New Zealand currency has dropped against the US dollar, it's riding high against the euro, undermining returns from New Zealand's main venison markets in Europe.

Prices and demand for chilled venison exports to the EU had picked up after a couple of depressed years and deer farmers were expecting better prices for frozen venison as well.

But Deer Industry New Zealand chair Andy Macfarlane said they were getting the same prices as last year, in the $6.20 to $6.45 a kilo range, and currency was the culprit.

"The make up of mid to low sixes is different to a year ago," he said.

"It's made up of a stronger market price in euros with a much weaker euro against the New Zealand dollar and that's even gone significantly against us in the month of December and over Christmas, because of issues with the European economy.

"So, we're feeling a lot more optimistic about the underlying market, but with the currency, you'd have to say we can't be optimistic at all."

But on the positive side, venison sales to alternative markets such as the US were increasing and prices for deer antler velvet were riding high.

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