THE HIDE MARKET – FEBRUARY 12, 2018
Things started slowly in U.S. hide market last week. Some Steer hide suppliers offering lists were pretty well populated, while other lists were limited as to selection and quantities being offered. Tanners opened the bidding at prices that were $1.00 to $3.00 below asking levels. As a result, there were basically no raw hide sales reported until Wednesday of last week when a few sales were reported at prices that ranged from steady with last traded levels to down by $.50 to $1.00 per piece. The number of bids from tanners grew on Thursday, but because they were mostly below last traded levels those bids were countered by sellers. On Friday some Steer hide business was confirmed at steady or compromised price levels. However, we came away with the feeling that not a lot of Steer hide business was consummated for the week. Sellers of U.S. Cow hides did see more buyer interest on both Dairy Cow and Plump Branded Cow hides last week. Albeit that interest came with lower bid prices, some of which were accepted by producers who felt the need to put some sales on the books. By the end of last week, many Chinese tanners were reported to have already shut down for Chinese New Year/Spring Festival holidays. As we understand it some of the Chinese tanneries will be closed for three weeks while others we are told will only be idle for the official seven-day National Holiday period. It appears that the busier and bigger the tannery the shorter the holiday closure. The Export Sales Report for raw and wet blue cattle hides released by the USDA last Thursday again showed a weekly sales number that was well below what many involved in the trade expected. Beef packers processed less than 600,000 cattle last week. This is not surprising as February is historically one of the slowest month of the year for beef sales. Because of last week’s Steer hide trading we are moving our quotes for the current FOB plant prices for the seasonal average weight the Big Packer Steer hides down slightly. We are going to call the Heavy Native Steer hide down $1.00 per piece to $66.00. We are also going to peg the Butt Branded Steer hide value down a little at between $61.00 to $63.00 per hide, as for the Heavy Texas Steer hide selection we are leaving its value unchanged at and between $ 52.00 to $ 54.00 per piece.
The Export Sales Report released by the USDA on February 8, 2018 for the seven-day period ending Thursday, February 1st. showed that 307,300 whole cattle hide, and wet blue equivalents were sold for export during that week. This number is even lower than the 341,600 pieces that had been reported as sold the prior week. The exports/shipments during the period were reported to be 528,800 pieces.
Federally Inspected Slaughter, (FIS) for the week ending Saturday February 10, 2018, was an estimated 591,000 cattle. That Number is up from the prior week’s revised estimated 611,000 head processed. Year to Date FIS is an estimated 3,566,000 head, which is up 2.5 percent from the same period a year ago.
Don’t expect to hear much from China this week as tanners there, like the entire country, will be out on holiday this week and next. Tanners in Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand will also be closed several days over this week and next as they to, like the Chinese, will be celebrating Lunar New Year holidays. We do expect that their will be some of the tanners from these countries who will look at these not so active holiday weeks as an opportunity to buy some raw material at maybe a slight discount. Our feeling is that will not be an easy task. The Lunar New Year holidays do not come as a surprise to the raw hide and wet blue suppliers here in the U.S. or anywhere else for that matter. We are relatively confident that they have dialed this expectedly slow holiday period into their sold positions. We hope all our friends in Asia enjoy their holiday break.
“Golf is the cruelest of sports. Like life, it’s unfair. It’s a harlot. A trollop. It leads you on. It never lives up to its promises…. It’s a boulevard of broken dreams. It plays with men. And runs off with the butcher.”