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China – a growing level of optimism

Published: 08 Jan, 2020

The market for both upholstery and shoe upper leather is reported as being in good shape over the past two months. The interest from tanners specialising in shoe upper has caused the U.S. fed steerhide market to firm up, with many suppliers able to achieve US$1.00-2.00/hide uplift for their material. But, tanners are now reporting that they may have enough inventory already purchased to last them up until the March / April period when the market for shoes hits the traditional low season. Trends in leather are reported as changing, the demand is shifting more and more away from the full grain high quality leather to a more tight corrected grain type leather. The requirements for the raw material that supply the shoe industry will have to change with this new trend. Tanners in China are reported to be purchasing more of the lower quality hides to be used for corrected grain. The favoured hides are the whiter coloured hides that can be dyed black or white. The black is then used for shoes and boots while the white leather is more favoured for sports type shoes.

Upholstery tanners who are reported to have been steady, are now gearing themselves up for their busier time of the year. The spring season in the northern hemisphere, particularly in the United States, has always been the season where most new items of furniture are purchased. However, tanners still need to work with their finished goods suppliers over how they will share the new tariff costs. The Chinese economy is still very buoyant compared with most nations, but there is a continued slowing of consumer spending. The increase in food is a factor behind this, with pork alone increasing in price by over 100 per cent during 2019, due to reliance upon imported pork following the African swine flu outbreak. 2020 is set to break all previous records with the amount of pork and beef being imported.

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