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There are reports of increases in the price that can be achieved for cowhides from several origins when selling to Chinese tanners. Suppliers from the UK, Ireland, France and Germany all report that demand is higher. Favourable exchange rates against a strengthening U.S. dollar have also helped the bottom line for many. It would appear that the better the quality, the easier it is to sell, with lighter cowhides in not such great demand. Prices may have increased marginally over the past few weeks but, when taken into historical context, the cowhides are still extremely cheap for tanners, even if the cost of the current freight rates are added.

One supplier calculated that current freight rates can add around US$7.00/hide over and above what was being paid two years ago, but let’s look at the average cost of the hide, around US$32.00-US$36.00/hide for a hide in the 27/29kg range. Almost 10 years ago, prices for these same hides reached over US$90.00/hide. Heifer hides are also in greater demand, with the weights and types suitable for upholstery very easy to sell, according to one commenter.

Cowhides from the U.S. seem to have stabilised in recent weeks, with demand just about matching supply. The advantage many European suppliers have is the lack of hot/cold iron branding on their hides, meaning there is more available leather area (uncorrected) to be manufactured with each hide.

It goes without saying now that the world holds its breath with the discovery of another variant and how this will impact leather demand, especially with many origins going back into partial lockdowns.

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