By Herman Jansen, Managing Director, NAFA
Russia’s continued absence has created a devastating effect on much of our wild fur. Major articles like raccoon depend on Russia in order to have respectable clearances and prices. A few years ago, China bought many of the middle and flatter sections of raccoon to use as trim on ladies boots. Today, that fashion trend is over, and we urgently need to find new takers. Both your WFSC and NAFA’s promotional department are investing time and money in putting NAFA’s wild fur, especially raccoon, back on the runways in Milan and Paris. Once it is seen as a fashion item, China and other countries will follow. We just need for this to happen soon.
It is clear to most observers that the economy in Russia, because of the Western sanctions and the drop in oil prices (which brought a 60% decline to the value of the Russian Ruble), is having a worse than expected effect on Russian buying power. To add insult to injury, the current financial crisis in Greece is taking a further toll on wild fur business. At this moment the sky looks pretty dark, but over the next six to eight weeks we hope that we will see some sunlight. Raccoons, for example, are inexpensive and should be a perfect fit for an attractively priced fur garment. Raw skins can still be bought in September and put into garments before the fur-selling season in Russia starts. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
In other articles, beaver continues to struggle. This tendency will likely persist until the current world economic situations are resolved. Muskrat still sees demand, with clearances at 100%, but at lower price levels. While China is the major buyer for this article, the end user continues to be Korea.
Sables continue to sell well with competition from all major fur markets. Female fishers have become very popular in China, selling 100% at strong prices, while males were met with more difficulty because of the weaker Russian market. Lynx saw mixed results, both in clearance and in price, once again due to the lack of support from Russia. Lynx Cat saw more commercial sections selling over 90%, while Western sections/better qualities sold 70%.
It is of course true that some articles are doing very well. Coyotes had another strong performance this year with high prices and terrific demand from major North American and European fashion houses. Down-filled jackets and parkas trimmed with coyote are still major fashion items. This again proves that if you are in fashion, price is secondary, and it is the young people around the world that are buying and driving the trends.
Needless to say, we are disappointed in general with the results of this season, but we are not giving up hope and are working very hard through our promotional department to turn the corner.
The market will likely remain flat in the short term. Activity normally picks up again towards the end of August. Please be assured that we will do everything we can to sell as many skins as possible in every market that has demand, and hopefully in September we can come back to you with more positive news.
Article provided courtesy of NAFA. Original article may be found here.