Hide prices... are still falling

15 July 2003

Doom, gloom and depression permeates the hide and skin business these days. Bankruptcies and closures are still happening and there is no reason to believe that the trend will not continue. The initial four-week closure of the oldest tanning group in Ireland has been extended and, in England, Strong International have decided to close. The big news in May was centred on the problems in Holland with a very big player there in trouble. This had a knock on effect in Ireland where van Buren did a lot of business and meat processors in the country are now wondering who will be next. The SARS crisis in China has meant that American hides are being diverted from Korea and China into Europe, primarily Italy, and prices are dropping on a weekly basis. The weakness of the US dollar means that the Americans can still achieve a moderate price but it results in euro and sterling prices being hammered. The pessimists out there see no recovery before the end of the year. The optimists are hoping to see a recovery begin in September. The Italians are rumoured to be planning to stay out of the market until the third week in August and then to buy for September delivery. One interesting observation is that despite all the talk of collapse, every hide is moving and there are no stockpiles around. Prices for hides at the start of June were as follows: 36kg+ ……................……. 80p 31/35.5kg …..................….. 86p 26/30.5kg …..................….. 92p 22/25.5kg …..................... £1.02 Cow kills were low and as a result prices remained fairly steady with heavy cows going for £24.50. However, the long awaited decision on testing of over thirty month cattle is expected to be given in July with a possible implementation of a new system by the end of the year. It is thought that this will result in salted cow hides being allowed to be exported again which would allow the price to rise because the cost of special waste disposal will be removed. Doubleface production got into full swing during May and the usual predictable fight amongst Irish supplies began. Skins were handled and no profits were made. Suppliers in England were smarter and their purchases were at lower levels than in Ireland. Doubleface was sold in Türkiye at £7.50 delivered.

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