The first wool sales of the new year have produced muted results, with prices for most lines of wool falling.
At last week's combined North and South Island auction more than 70 percent of the 17,500 bales sold but only fine lambswool showed any price gain.
There is still steady demand from China for finer wools but a marketing executive with exporter New Zealand Wool Services International, Malcolm Ching, said overseas customers were holding back on buying stronger cross-bred wool as supplies increased.
That was reflected in almost half of last week's South Island offering being passed in for not reaching farmers' reserve prices.
Mr Ching said the wool passed in was mainly full 12 month shorn fleece wool.
"There's quite a lot of that coming onto the market. There was an expectation put into the local marketplace by representatives of different companies that fleece would actually hold quite well this year, so a lot of farmers have an expectation of a higher price."
Quite a few farmers made the choice not to sell because of that, Mr Ching said.