As we anticipated, business in the U.S. hide market during last week’s New Year holiday week was even slower than the Christmas holiday week that preceded it. Again, last week, there were a good number of hides on U.S. sellers offering list, which has been the case for a number of weeks now. And, there was a good number of tanners in the market bidding, as has been the case for several weeks now. The trouble, as we saw it, was that the distance between asking and bid prices were too far apart to allow a large amount of trading to take place. Some Chinese tanners continued to be concerned about possible trade war and possible tariffs that may or not be enforced on March 2nd. Because of this fear, as part of their bidding, tanners have insisted ETA dates that are no longer possible for some selections or from some origins. For the trading that did transpire last week on seasonal average Steer hides, for the most part, all business was done at steady money. We did not hear of any of the Steer hide selections fetching higher prices. On the other hand, we did hear of several “Jumbo” Steer hide trades that were down by as much as $2.00 per piece from their last traded levels. It seemed that the price spreads between the Seasonal average and “Jumbo” weight Steer hides had been out of line for some time now. The spread has been too wide, historically, and those spreads did shrink last week. One bright spot in the U.S. hide market was the demand for Dairy Cow hides, which has been increasing over the last few weeks. Prices for this selection has improved modestly as demand has remained strong. It also seems as if demand for U.S. Plump Native and Branded Cow hides has also improved. Last week’s New Year holiday Cattle slaughter came in well above the prior Christmas week’s number, but still low when compared a full non-holiday week
Our quotes for last week’s FOB plant prices for the seasonal average weight 60-65 lb. Big Packer Steer hide selections remained in the range of our two week ago quotes.
- Heavy Native Steer hides at between $42.00 and $43.00 per piece, unchanged for the week.
- Butt Branded Steer hides at $38.00 per piece, unchanged for the week.
- Heavy Texas Steer hides at between $28.00 and $30.00 per piece, unchanged for the week.
Again, last week, due to the politically motivated U.S. Government shut down, the USDA did not publish their Export Sales Report for whole cattle hides, and wet blue equivalents. Last week was the second week this information was not available. So, no USDA numbers for the weeks ending December 20th or December 27th.
The USDA estimated the U.S. Federally Inspected Slaughter, (FIS) for the holiday shortened week ending Saturday, January 5, 2019, was 520,000 cattle. This number is up from the 438,000 number of the prior week.
As we head into a new year, it may be wise to look back a couple of years so as to get an appreciation as to where we are today. If we take a composite look at the U.S. Plump Steer hide prices as report by a major reporting service, we will see that the January 1, 2019 price was down 42 % from the January 1, 2018 number and 53 % from the January 1, 2017 number. If we make the same calculation for the combined Plump and Dairy Cow hide price quotes, we find that January 1, 2019 composite is down 61 % and 69 % respectively from the January 1, 2018 and 2017 values. The darkest hour is just before dawn. Hopefully the sun will come up soon for the U.S. hide market.
FROM CBS ANNOUNCER DAVID FEHERY
“It would be easier to pick a broken nose, than a winner in that group.”
“That green appears smaller than a Pygmie’s nipple.”