Italy snaps up wet-blue

14 February 2005

The year 2005 opened at a time when tanners are not particularly keen to buy at what they see as unprofitable prices. In the third week of January, fewer hides were sold than had been produced. February heralds the Lunar New Year holidays in Asia so tanners there are unlikely to be focused on hide buying when faced with a period of inactivity. While this is traditionally a quiet time for trade, the season for exhibitions around the world has already begun and this will hopefully stir up some business in the coming months. On a positive note, the Japanese prime minister said that Japan had agreed in principle to resume exports of Canadian beef and he also gave favourable indications that US beef might also be allowed back into Japan. Various requirements are still being worked out between the two countries before this can become a done deal. It is still hoped that Canadian beef will be allowed back into the US from March 7 which will help US packers back to profitable slaughtering once again. It should also increase the hide supply. This should also clear the way for the resumption of exports of Canadian cattle of under thirty months to enter the US so long as they are branded and tagged correctly to indicate the place of origin. Once again China was the biggest importer of raw hides from the US in the four-week period to January 21, 2005, taking 722,100 hides. And yet again, Korea was in second place with 569,300 followed by Mexico with 152,200, and Japan with 66,800. Hong Kong came in fifth place with 60,900, followed by Thailand with 57,400, Taiwan with 52,800 and the Republic of South Africa with 32,500. Italy was once again in ninth place with 22,300 while the Dominican Republic managed a respectable 14,300 and Canada 11,800. Bringing up the rear were Vietnam with 4,300, the UK with 2,400, Argentina with 1,000, France with 700 and Spain with 600. In addition, Japan contracted for 80,000 calf and kip while Italy took 27,800 calf and kip. The biggest buyer of wet-blue was Hong Kong with 62,300, followed by Korea with 45,000. Italy was in third place with 31,500 followed by China with 24,200. Mexico took 17,400, Taiwan 17,100 and the Dominican Republic 16,400. Indonesia was next with 3,900, then Japan 2,100. Hong Kong was by far the biggest purchaser of wet-blue splits, taking 5,174,400lb. The next in line was Italy with 3,052,100lb. Lesser amounts were bought by China with 969,400lb, Mexico 198,100lb, Korea 101,400, Dominican Republic 41,000 and Taiwan 26,900. Federally inspected slaughter figures for the first week of the New Year amounted to 574,000 which compares favourably with 561,000 the previous year. However, after this numbers began to drop on a yearly basis with the next two weeks accounting for 587,000 each. The previous year's slaughter figures for the two weeks were 599,000 and 624,000 for weeks 2 and 3 respectively.

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