Official figures for January 2017 from the US Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) show a substantial increase year on year in the volume and value of exports from the US of wet-salted and fresh hides.
Packers and traders shipped more than 1.8 million pieces in the first month of the year, bringing in export revenues of almost US$125 million. These figures represent growth compared to January 2016 of 19% in volume and of 26% in value.
The figures for wet blue, however, show ongoing decline. In the course of 2016, US tanners shipped 6.6 million wet blue hides to customers overseas, earning export revenues of just over US$600 million, a fall of 12% in volume and of 19% in value compared to the previous year. In January 2017, the figures were just over 500,000 wet blue hides in volume and US$47.4 million in value, showing year-on-year declines of 8% and 5% respectively.
Shipments of wet blue to the European Union, India, Taiwan and Thailand grew substantially in volume and value, but this was not enough to compensate for big dips in exports of the material to China, South Korea and (closer to home) to Mexico and the Dominican Republic.