Prices rose steeply in the first week of the four-week period ended 26 June. The increases continued through week two, with prices levelling off towards the end of the month. The sudden rise in prices has made Korean tanners step aside, for a while at least, but they will no doubt re-enter the market once prices are more attractive. Even though it is a quiet time of year, Korean tanners still import a large amount of raw hides, and when they return to their normal purchasing levels, this is likely to push prices higher again.

Chinese tanners continue to suffer with many only working at 50% capacity. The Chinese authorities have also been closely monitoring import and export controls in the Guangdong area and this has meant that a large number of hides have not been shipped, a fact that is unlikely to encourage the Chinese to increase the quantity they buy.

Total raw hides sold for export for the week ended June 12 reached 659,600, up 27% on the previous week and 14% higher than the previous four-week average. Taking into account wet-blue sales, the week’s total export sales were 800,900. When a conservative estimate of 150,000 domestic stock is added to the raw and wet-blue total, around 1,000,000 hides were sold during the one week. As a result, producers were able to maintain their higher prices throughout much of the week.

And then raw hide export figures climbed a further 25% the following week ended June 19 to 706,200 pieces. In contrast, wet-blue sales for the same week fell 59% from 147,300 to 60,300. But demand for wet-blue splits leaped ahead with a weekly total of 3,419,000lb compared with 730,000lb the previous week. Hong Kong was responsible for the majority of the total, taking 3,423,700lb, although most of the this would have crossed the border into southern China.

For the week ending 16 June, exports fell back to lower levels with total raw hide exports of 543,100. However, wet-blue exports increased from the previous week to 92,200, but failed to reach the heights of the week before that. Wet-blue split sales dropped by a substantial 89% from the previous week’s total of 3,419,000lb to 366,400lb.