Oddly, the sales of U.S. raw and wet blue cattle hides seemed to slow down a little last week, when compared with the prior week. While one would have expected the opposite to be the case, since the prior week was a holiday-shortened one. Last week started with most suppliers showing fewer selections on their weekly offering lists. Dairy Steer and Cow hides were noticeably absent from most offer lists. Sellers, in many cases, were saying they were sold further ahead on those Dairy selections than they were comfortable with, and that they wished to bring their sold positions closer in. The pricing on the hide selections that were offered last week were not changed from the prior week’s asking levels. During last week, the selling prices for the Plump Steer/Heifer hide selections remained mostly unchanged. We did however see a little weakness in the value of the Heavy Native Steer hide selection. We feel that weakness is the result of the Auto Upholstery tanners temporarily reducing their weekly purchases of Native Steer hides. On the other side of the coin, there was a little more interest in Heavy Texas Steer hides, and that pushed the value of that selections slightly higher. It did not appear that many U.S. Cow hides changed hands last week. Asian tanners continued to bid on both the Dairy and the Beef Cow hides, and while most of those bids were at or close to last traded levels, suppliers showed limited interest a selling unless they got some marginal price increases. Most U.S. Cow suppliers claim to be well sold, and with prices at their current levels, suppliers see more upside than downside to the market. Both the USDA’s Export Sales Report for U.S. hides and the Federally Inspected Slaughter (FIS) of Cattle last week in the U.S. came in at big numbers. So, these numbers cannot be used as justification for the hide prices to move one way or the other.
Below are our current per piece FOB plant price quotes for seasonal average weight Big Packer Steer hides:
- Heavy Native Steer hides at $38.00 per piece, down $.50 per piece for the week.
- Butt Branded Steer hides at $35.00 to $36.00 per piece, unchanged for the week.
- Heavy Texas Steer hides at $27.00 per piece, up $.50 per piece for the week.
The USDA released its Export Sales Report on U.S. Cattle hides last Thursday for the week ending Thursday, November 28th. The report showed that 622,500 raw and wet blue U.S. cattle hides were sold for export during that period. This number is up considerably from the 562,600 pieces reported to have been traded the prior week. China was the largest buyer, booking 379,500 or about 61 percent of the sales. Korea was the number two buyer taking 131,500 pieces.
The USDA estimated Federally Inspected Slaughter (FIS), for last week ending came in at 679,000 cattle. That was the biggest weekly kill number of this year. Year to date, FIS is 31,026,000 head which is up 1.1 percent from last year.
Last week’s trade talks between the U.S. and Chinese governments continued add some instability to the markets. One day President Trump says, “Talks are continuing, but that it looks as if a trade agreement may not be reach until after next fall’s Presidential election.” Then, later in the week, word comes from Beijing that “Trade talks with the U.S. remain on track.” If they continue to communicate, we believe that negotiators will come to an agreement that will benefit all concerned. After a while, markets become less reactive to those up and downs and, in the end, business gets done, commerce moves on, deals are made, as are shipments. The sun is coming up tomorrow and we hope leather demand does also.
Old duffer: “What do you miss about being a young golfer?”
Second old duffer: “Hitting for distance, hitting it accurately, and, uh, er, um… I forget.”