Woolgrowers were given a sharp reminder of how hard the next few months could be when the Eastern Market Indicator plunged 97 cents on Tuesday to 1345c a kilogram clean. The national pass-in rate hit 40.7 per cent but that couldn't stop the bloodshed in Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle. The nosedive was unexpected after a solid finish to sales towards the end of last week but coronavirus continues to damage the global economy. Prices were in retreat as soon as the Melbourne market opened with all Merino fleece price guides suffering falls ranging from 120 to 140c. Merino skirtings also fell dramatically with 18 micron and broader dropping 80-120c. A total 10,892 bales were offered in Melbourne with a pass-in rate of 38.5pc. The pass-in rate hit a whopping 53.1pc for an offering of 3172 bales in Fremantle but the Western Indicator still plummeted 101c to 1411c. News of the price falls in the eastern states triggered the withdrawal of 31pc of the fleece before the sale. Sydney recorded big losses despite a pass-in rate of 38.5pc. The spot auction market had its toughest day since last August falling around 100c across the board. Leading NSW New England woolgrower Martin Oppenheimer took to Twitter to ask why wool auctions were continuing during the coronavirus pandemic. "For all those who think it is a good idea to keep selling wool when the world is effectively shut down, go your hardest. But you are hurting us all," he wrote. More than 20,000 bales have been rostered for sale today (Wednesday) in Melbourne and Sydney but the offering will almost certainly be pruned by withdrawals.