Wild Fur Market Eases
NAFA’s May Sale attracted the largest attendance of international buyers in recent memory, which resulted in record quantities of wild fur being sold.
The wild fur sale began with an offering of approximately 20,000 Lynx Cats and 4,700 Lynx, which sold 100% under very strong competition. Greece was the major taker with good support from Russia, Italy and North America. Price levels for Lynx Cats were slightly easier than February for the top end, while the rest of the collection sold at firm to advancing levels. The Lynx collection sold at firm to advancing levels, with all markets participating. Most of these Lynx and Lynx Cats will be used for trimming, primarily on North American black mink coats.
Can/Am Sables sold 100%, under strong competition from all markets, which shows that this article continues to be one of the most fashionable wild fur products. Premiums were paid for the larger sizes in both the semi and heavies, which are mostly used for trim on both mink and textile coats.
Red Fox sold very well, but the top end of the collection was met with some price resistance, which resulted in a small quantity of the better quality skins being withdrawn. Grey Fox sold 100% at very realistic prices, which should be sustainable in the future.
The top end of the male Fisher was met with price resistance and partially withdrawn, while all of the commercial and lower end sold. Females sold 100%, but at easier prices compared to February.
Nearly 100,000 Coyotes were offered on this sale, selling over 80% with some of the better, heavier qualities being withdrawn. North American and European fashion houses are the primary customer of quality Coyotes that are being used for trim. The increased quantities that have been sold to these fashion houses have resulted in dressing backlogs. This slower production is the primary reason the trade is reluctant to purchase more of these skins at this time. We would expect that by September the situation will have improved sufficiently to sell the skins at the proper price levels. All of the commercial and inferior qualities have been sold.
Our collection of Otter sold very well at the commercial and lower end. Most of the better skins were withdrawn due to price resistance. The difference between our value and what the trade was willing to pay was $20 to $30, a result of lower levels established at a recent auction. We do expect that we will be able to sell the better quality skins later this year at closer to our valuations.
Contrary to our February sale where Beaver sold at sharply increased prices, the Beaver met with price resistance. This was due to our reluctance to lower values to meet buyers ’price expectations that were established at the most recent wild fur sale. The large offerings of Beaver have once again resulted in dressing delays. You may remember that last year NAFA invested time and money helping our Chinese dressing plants improve the quality of Beaver dressing. The expertise that we have provided has helped immensely and the quality of fur dressing today in several dressing plants has improved, but Beaver is still a very difficult and time consuming article to dress. Again, we strongly believe that the goods that we have withdrawn will find better price levels later. All of the lower valued skins were sold.
Well over half a million Muskrats were offered and selling over 80%, with nearly all larger sizes and better qualities unsold. Price levels for Muskrats were approximately 10% to 15% easier compared to the record setting levels established in our February sale. Even at these adjusted levels this article is still attractively priced to our producers.
The largest quantity of fresh Raccoon ever offered by NAFA in a single sale sold at much higher clearances than anticipated. Although price levels were easier than our February sale, the increased quantities attracted more buyers, particularly from China. For our Chinese buyers, the increased Raccoon quantity is very beneficial because it fits into their production scheme better; as a result several of these manufacturers purchased quantities of 25,000 to 50,000 skins. NAFA’s promotional arm is working with several of these manufacturers and helping them with design. The Northern Lights campaign is involved in promoting this important article in China and Russia, but we believe most importantly it needs new and more fashionable designs. NAFA has promised many of our larger buyers to help them in designing a product that can be sold to younger customers where fashion is the most important issue.
In order to sell the unsold articles from the May auction, NAFA will make special visits to all markets. We are planning to hold workshops in Greece and China where we will attempt to aggressively sell the remaining unsold wild fur product. We recognize how important it is for all of our producers to sell all of the skins before the new season begins and trust that over the summer and during September and October, this will be accomplished. The May Sale results, compared to our record setting February sale, are disappointing in certain articles, however the overall wild fur picture still remains positive. You have NAFA and the Wild Fur Shippers Council commitment to continue with the promotional efforts, which have proven to be a very important tool in the sale of wild fur.
Herman Jansen, Managing Director.