The shortage in Argentina is related to a governmental limitation on the export of beef in an attempt to keep food prices low for citizens, said Chris Thomas, a vice president of sales for Universal Leather.
‘Less beef being exported means less hides being exported, as well,’ Thomas said. Universal Leather has been minimally affected because of a partnership with a large family tannery in Argentina, he said.
Meanwhile, some Chinese tanneries have gone out of business rather than meet stricter government environmental standards. A death sentence is now a possibility for some of the worse polluters.
‘Adding to the price mix is that only about 7% of leather is used in upholstery furniture compared with 70% for shoes and 13% for automotive,’ Thomas said. ‘As you see more Chinese drivers, the demand for leather is only going to get tighter.’

Source: Winston-Salem Journal