Cattle hide prices stronger for now, sheep skins still weak

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The hide market was hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic, with the Italian tannery sector all but closing temporarily. Hide prices fell the world over. Reports suggest Chinese buyers took the opportunity to upgrade on quality, albeit at the same or lower prices.

Data from the Sauer Report indicates that the situation has since improved, although the market may now be facing some headwinds. Although hide prices have recovered from last year’s lows, further increases may be more difficult, despite the lower UK kill restricting domestic supplies. Recent price rises have been supported by Italian buyers apparently replenishing stocks, and so it is not clear if further rises are sustainable.

Not limited to their effect on hides and skins, rising freight prices are adding to difficulties exporting a range of products to China. This is particularly challenging where the margins have already been particularly narrow, as in the case of hides in recent months.

Reports indicate that US demand for imported leather products has been sluggish, but we can only hope that some pent up demand caused by the pandemic will be unleashed as lockdowns ease further.

Sheep skin prices remain very much in the doldrums, again according to the Sauer Report, with abattoirs still being charged between 50p and £1 per skin to have green skins taken away.



BY Duncan Wyatt / AHDB

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