The month of August was one of the quietest in the hide business for a holiday period in the past ten years. Previously, Italian tanners have phoned up from their holiday villas to buy hides and the market has risen.

This year, the phones have been silent. And the market has been unbelievably steady. It appears that the wet-blue business has been offset by the concern that cattle numbers in Europe will be low from September to the end of the year and beyond.

Kills in Ireland began to pick up in early September but this has not been matched in other countries.

Concerns are still running high over the future of the largest wet-blue plant in Ireland which has scaled back production of wet-blue hides. But hopes remain high that this is only a temporary setback.

All of these factors have combined to keep prices steady. At the end of August prices were:

* 36kg+ – 1.00 ($1.56)

* 31/35.5 – 1.11 ($1.73)

* 26/30.5 – 1.14 ($1.77)

* 22/25.5 – 1.25 ($1.94)

Cull hides have been a steady trade with no change now for three months. There are only three buyers for these hides and this has obviously contributed to the steadiness of the market. Cull prices were £27 ($42) for heavy cows and £24 ($37) for light cows.

The lambskin business has continued as usual for August. Turkish tanners are buying doubleface for processing into stock and are awaiting the Russian buyers. Letters of credit are very difficult to obtain and business is being done on a 30% cash in advance/70% cash against documents basis.

With the price of doubleface skins at £8.20/£8.30 ($12.76-12.91), the potential for disaster is once again staring us in the face. In this case, ‘let the seller beware’.

Fellmongering skins went for £3.50 ($5.44) ex yard.