A shift in direction for US hide prices18 November 2009
The market has changed direction since the last report. After reaching a peak in the fourteen days leading up to the Shanghai leather fair in the first days of September, steer prices fell with cows showing weakness as well.
Many of the hides that did not sell in Shanghai were on the show lists in the succeeding week primarily at levels which were dollars below last sales and asking prices.
Heavy Texas steers remained somewhat of an enigma both just before Shanghai and in the weeks after as major packers typically refrained from offering. They cited well forward sold positions, which was the case all summer long. This made it relatively difficult to ascertain a true market of the nation’s most prodigious selection.
Prices by mid September were down to $52.50, compared to $56 in Shanghai. On a c&f basis, there was decent interest in the area of $55-$57, but we were unable to confirm any bookings at that level.
Reasonable buyer interest was seen for branded steers but only at levels in the area of $46-$49. A few sales were posted at $53 but not in any volume. Heavy averages sold in comparatively limited quantities at $56. Some business was recorded on Colorado steers at $48-$49. This was $1-$2 below the first week of the month. Prices of butt branded steers fell as well, trading as much as $3 lower.
Due in part to an unusual preponderance of heavy native steers in the slaughter mix but, even more, less than keen demand on the part of automotive upholstery tanners, prices dropped in early September with sales being made at $55 in mid month.
Regardless of the trend in steers, producers of both native and branded cows were partially successful in maintaining steady prices. Heavy natives were reported at $40 in one case but other northern productions were available at $38 and failed to sell. Conventional natives sold at $35 with $37 offerings not finding buyers at mid month.
In brands, buyers ideas were in the area of $19-$20 for river and northern points but sellers held out for higher prices. Trades were recorded at $21 with an unconfirmed report heard of a dollar and two higher. Western and southwestern business was booked at $18-$19. Producers manage to attain prices steady from Shanghai forward. Northern types reached $39-$40. Asian interest was seen at $42 and even up to $43 c&f that was countered by sellers. Conventional packer material traded at $37.
The combined raw and wet-blue outstanding as of September 3, totalled 5,309,700 pieces. This compares to 5,387,300 last week and 5,748,800 two weeks ago. This is the lowest since late December.
Export shipments, that totalled 446,900 during the period, fell below slaughter. Even when adding in domestic consumption estimated to be roughly 50,000-75,000 hides the total is still below slaughter for the week. Export sales also were below slaughter at 384,700.
Outstanding sales hit a 10-month low in mid September. Slaughter exceeded consumption (demand) and prices fell. As of September 3, total US exports were at 19,958,700 raw hides. This compares to 17,736,000 for the year to date in 2008. That’s more than 2 million more hides with less than three months to go in the year.
In addition, tanners in China will be closed for the first week in September 29 to October 8. Can anyone be bullish? Maybe those who see that slaughter is currently running 1,188,000 below last year. We can’t be.