As everyone had expected, the U.S. hide market was stagnant last week. The Lunar New Year holiday was in full swing so all of Asia was out of the office for the week. As mentioned, this did not come as a surprise to anyone since we go through this week every year. In years past when leather demand was high and business in China was booming, you wouldn’t even realize there was a holiday with several tanners still needing to buy hides during the holiday. This year that was not so much the case, there were rumors that one of the biggest customers in China had been calling around to various suppliers, but for the most part the week was quiet. Luckily the second largest buyer of US hides, Korea, was back in the office late in the week, so by Thursday there were a few bids and likely some business was done. The few bids that were around last week were down $1-2 from previously booked business, but you’d be hard pressed to find a supplier who would sell for less than steady. We’re calling the market last week steady just due to the lack of activity.
Following are our quotes for last week’s FOB plant prices for the seasonal average weight Big Packer Steer hide selections:
- Heavy Native Steer hides at $42.00 per piece, unchanged for the week.
- Butt Branded Steer hides at $39.00 per piece, unchanged for the week.
- Heavy Texas Steer hides at $30.00 per piece, unchanged for the week.
We received the weekly export sales figure last week, for the period ending December 27, 2018. Just a reminder that last week and this week’s report will close out the export sales report for 2018. Sales for the week ending December 27, 2018 showed a total of 245,500 hides and wet blue sold for export. China was the main destination for hides and wet blue with purchases totaling 118,700 pieces.
The USDA estimated the U.S. Federally Inspected Slaughter, (FIS) for the week ending Saturday, February 9, 2019, was 614,000 head of cattle. Up from the 593,000 animals processed the prior week. The Year to date FIS is an estimated 3,512,000 head which is down 1.5 percent from a year ago.
We’re back to normal this week with all our customers back in their offices. As is usually the case we expect things to start up slowly this week. Suppliers are gathering inventories, clarifying their sales positions, and working on this week’s offer lists. It is our feeling that you will see lists that are steady with the last couple of weeks and depending on what those sales positions look like there might be a few more offers on the lists this week. Both buyers and sellers of US Cattle hides will enter the week feeling each other out as usually is the case after a long absence. It’s hard to predict what will happen this week, so it’s best if we don’t try and just let the week develop. Hopefully everyone has a good week.
Doug Sanders, professional golfer: “I’m working as hard as I can to get my life and my cash to run out at the same time. If I can just die after lunch on Tuesday, everything will be perfect.”
Tommy LaSorda, former LA Dodgers manager: “I found out that it’s not good to talk about my troubles. Eighty percent of the people who hear them don’t care and the other twenty percent are glad I’m having them.”