Difficulties continue17 July 2002
Trading conditions are continuing to be extremely difficult. Kills are on the low side but so is demand. The situation is further complicated by the strength of the Euro which makes hides expensive in the Republic of Ireland. Wet-blue producers are still operating at lower volumes and are telling us that the costs of tanning cannot be fully recovered in their sales prices. Producers and processors of beef are also losing money at an alarming rate. One producer has been quoted as saying that if he stood at his factory gate and gave each farmer £10 per head not to bring in cattle he would be better off than if he killed the cattle. This makes it very difficult to get raw prices back to match the salted market. Furthermore as we approach the August holidays the Italians will stop taking hides and this will add pressure to further reduce the salted hide market. China remains closed to European hides and this situation is unlikely to change before the Shanghai Fair in late September so, all in all, things are not looking good for our business all the way from the farmer to the tanner. Prices at the end of May/early June were as follows: * 36kg + - 94p * 31/35.5 - 1.03 * 26/30.5 - 1.10 * 22/25.5 - 1.18 Cow kills were also low and for the third month in a row prices stood at £26 for heavy cows and £23 per light cows. New season lambs continued to be scarce and the expected increase in number at the end of May early June did not materialise. Prices of new season doubleface did begin to drift lower in the first week of June as some traders felt that the availability of doubleface was bound to increase. Offers of £6.80 per skin ex the yard were taken and it was felt that when numbers did come along the market would settle at £6.50 ex yard. Fellmongering skins at this time of the year are not usually at their best and these went for £3.30 ex yard in late May.