According to Stephen Sothmann, Director – International Affairs for the US Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) prices remained around the $90 a piece level for steers after prices had fallen in the past few months following the $100 a hide barrier being reached at the end of last year.

This should offer some slight relief to tanners although prices still remain close to record levels and do not look set to decline significantly in the near future.

“I think there has been some stabilisation in the market. The recent price declines in the past two months reflect a correction in the market to more settled levels. I think that prices maybe went a bit high but now we are seeing a more stable market”, explained Sothmann to ILM.

He said that most US traders who had attended the ACLE fair in Shanghai last week had had a good show and they were happy with the discussions that took place.

USHSLA expect a period of stable prices for most US selections in the coming weeks as demand remains more subdued than it has been in the past two years.

High hide prices and subsequent higher leather prices have led to some retail brands switching from leather to other materials to keep prices at retail down.

US hide prices were also impacted by a severe drought that has affected cattle herd numbers in 2011 and 2012 putting upward pressure on prices.