The new wool selling season has got off to a less than auspicious start.
Prices for most wool types eased at the first sale in Napier on Thursday, compared with the final sale of the 2008/09 season in Christchurch a fortnight ago.
Wool Partners International says 38% of the offering of almost 14,000 bales offered for sale failed to find a buyer.
New Zealand Wool Services International says markets are taking up to 30% less wool than they were before the economic crisis began.
It says buyer interest at Thursday's sale was limited, coming mainly from domestic and Australian carpet manufacturers.
Finer crossbred fleece and shears and a large offering of coarse shears were 4% down on South island prices and coarse good colour fleece 1% - 2% lower.
But poorer styles reversed the trend, strengthening by up to 4%.