General

This was a lousy week for the trade. Several international traders (which means they sell various origins to different countries and thus have a wide scope to operate) honestly reported they could not sell a single hide this week and some added the previous week as well. All have problems enough though with payments, requests to delay shipments, market quality claims and worse. Few believe the market will improve while still in 2014 and hope for January.

United States

Traders as well as packers are working hard and use aggressive marketing, special offers for special customers and other seduction packages to conclude new business. Their declining sold forward positions make it necessary. Sales must continue and hides must keep moving. Tanners do need hides to keep working even if demand may be less. The volumes they are prepared to take will almost always be limited since after all there is the possibility prices will drop further (and apart from the fact that many orders are smaller also). The lower prices do indeed lead to sales and some even at higher prices. The general trend remains downward however.

Turkey

Another report about the Istanbul leather fair which closed its doors yesterday: Some Chinese and some Russian visitors were present but the Chinese came more for copying with their cameras than anything else. The Russians were those already in Istanbul for market visits while some were invited by the Turkish Exporters Association. Hence these were not the strong and solid buyers exporters were waiting for. 1st day was terribly quiet. The 2nd day there was a moderate crowd but much less than previous fairs. Desperate faces of raw skins sellers who discovered the current prices still have to come down further. It is not really a matter of the leather market but due to the recent Russian currency seeing 40% devaluation and the Ukrainian currency at 100% devaluation. With no buying power in these all important countries there is no demand for the moment. Besides, the buying season of the finished products is over and no interest from the consumer market is expected till the next season, say April/May. Some of the Italian and Spanish small skin sellers have big stocks and need to create to cash in order to pay for the new season kills in December. But there are no confirmed bookings on the raw side since there is simply no hard cash around but many delayed and postponed drafts and checks instead. Some sample orders were noted at the fair but nothing big. Uncertainty is all over the market. The above concerns double face business mostly we must add. Napa and suede are always of interest but not to great extent either.

Mexico

Domestic hide sellers are fighting the global weaker market tendency and try to keep prices up. This seems a very difficult task and some lower prices have already slipped through. Dont forget Christmas closures are on the doorstep also. Foot wear tanners reports results a bit down from last year but the car leather industry is steaming ahead and that to such extent that a number of tanneries will only close for a couple of days during the normally long Xmas holiday season. Next week will see the World Footwear Congress in Leon with participants from 18 countries. Leon is the home of 170 million pairs of shoes produced in Mexico out of an annual total of 244 million.

Future footwear materials

SLEM organizes two revolutionary international footwear conferences on December 10 and 11, both taking place at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, The Netherlands. These SLEMinars are organized together with Jakajima – matchmaker for innovators– and will feature internationally renowned scientists, technologists, material experts, physicians and designers, speaking on the subjects of footwear health technology and future footwear materials. This way SLEM aims to create connections between the footwear industry and other innovative industries and universities. Both sides might not be aware of the business opportunities and research possibilities that they can offer each other. At the SLEMinars they can get to know each other and build a relationship. SLEM is an innovation and education institute for the footwear industry. Its goal is to research and develop meaningful innovation and provide the footwear industry with creative solutions.

Greece

For first time after 6 years of deep recession the GNP the in the 3rd quarter of this year increased 1,7%. On the other hand due to the upcoming election of a new President the political situation is somehow uncertain and this fact influences the economy. Hide and skin prices remained the same and no changes are anticipated till the end of the year.

Germany

Negotiations with the South German abattoirs did not bring the results traders were hoping for. Most never reduced their prices more than 5 cents while some did not go any further than 3 cents. A few others accepted 7 cents less, but that is the biggest reduction we have heard off. Demand for good hides is still there.

European hides to China

This very Friday we heard from three different European countries where hide sellers were reporting troubles with their buyers in China who insist prices of pending countries need to be re-negotiated. Always a very unpleasant experience but what else can be expected in a weakening market. Settle it and get on with your life my old boss used to say.