Hide prices fall

16 June 2003

Hide prices fell at the factory gate in Ireland as some semblance of sanity appeared to settle on the hide markets. Perhaps the bubble has finally burst but we will have to wait a while longer before we can finally report whether the hide buyers really do want to operate a profitable business. One complication is that every slaughterhouse in Ireland is examining how to salt their own hides. Italy is being besieged by eager plants wishing to sell their own salted material. Some of these plants will be in for a major disappointment when they realise that they have been overpaid for their hides for a long time. Any wet-blue producer in the world will soon explain the facts of life to them and I have no doubt that their new Italian friends will make the most of any inadequacies that they might have. Prices for salted hides have come back and the bottom has not been reached. Kills have been reasonable and are running ahead of next year. Prices at the end of April were as follows: 36kg+ .................……….. 88p 31/35.5kg ……................... 99p 26/30.5kg ....…..........….. £1.10 22/25.5kg …...........…….. £1.18 Cows were steady at £25 per salted heavy cow, £22 for light cows. These were expected to fall in May. As expected, Hong Kong has been cancelled in June and many traders who would normally go to Shanghai are voicing fears about travelling in that part of the world this year at all. The first new season doubleface lambskins have just been shipped to Türkiye at £7.15 per skin delivered. Interest appears patchy and the Turkish tanners give off an air of uncertainty. The speculation is that prices are more likely to fall rather than rise and the weakening US dollar is playing a big part in the skin trade as well as the hide trade. Fellmongers remain very soft at £3.15 ex yard with few takers. The SARS crisis in China is having a huge impact in our trade and will continue to have a negative effect for some time to come. Some traders see only one outcome to all this: lower prices.

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