A message from Herman Jansen, Managing Director:
Overproduction of ranch mink and fox continues to have a negative impact on the demand for wild fur. Western Coyotes, Western Lynx Cats and larger, heavier Sable will be the exception. The Coyote trim business continues to be in full fashion, with Canada Goose being the major taker of Coyote trim for high end down filled jackets. As successful as Canada Goose has been, many other fashion companies now are following their lead.
Good quality, Western Lynx Cats with better belly colours are in very strong demand, primarily for the Russian market, for use in high end garments as well as trimming. This exclusive market continues to prosper and as a result, top end Lynx Cats, with bigger size and clear bellies will remain exceptionally high in price. Flatter section Lynx Cats will follow a similar pattern as last year.
Lynx with better belly colours will also be in good demand, however commercial qualities and off coloured bellies will be inexpensive or difficult to sell.
Larger, good quality, heavy Sables are expected to continue to bring a premium, with Korea being the major taker. NAFA dominates as the biggest supplier of all furs to Korea, with 80% of their better quality mink purchases originating from NAFA. Without exception, NAFA attracts the largest number of Korean buyers compared to any auction house in the world and as a result we have obtained the highest prices for our sable collection.
Most other wild fur articles will be negatively affected by the overproduction situation. An exception could be female Fisher, which were mainly bought by China. However it is too early to tell, given the retail market has yet to get under way.
At the present time, North American Raccoons, which NAFA has sold at higher than expected levels in the last couple of years, have hit a roadblock. We are doing major promotional work and workshops in China, but demand seems to be limited to only the Jumbo and XXXL Western Northern and North Central sections like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Dakotas, Iowa and Nebraska. The major problem for this article is the ban on selling Raccoon by the larger retailers in the U.S., including Neiman Marcus and Saks. We will keep you informed of any developments that may change this picture. Early caught, small size, Eastern and Semi-heavy sections are nearly impossible to sell at this time.
The Beaver market is similar to last year, with the hatter business taking quantities at very low prices.
Red Foxes continue to struggle with only the largest, best quality, dark red in demand. Limited quantities of better quality Grey Foxes have been sold, but we will have to update you on further progress.
Muskrats have followed the same pattern as ranch mink this season, steadily declining all season, however they should be saleable at these lower prices.
Squirrels, Ermine, and Opossums are currently not salable at this time and we believe it will be in the best interests of the trapper to use these skins for different purposes or store them for a year or two.
It is very important to harvest only the better quality, fully prime fur because in this difficult market, the buyers will be very discriminating. We understand that some of you have provincial license quotas and may have to use different criteria and harvest a certain quantity of furbearers.
NAFA continues to be the only company promoting wild fur in all markets. We strongly believe in this commitment and we will continue to explore every possible way to promote and expand wild fur markets in all major fur consuming countries. We are convinced that only through continued promotion can we achieve the highest possible clearances and prices for our shippers.
As the retail season opens in our major markets, we will keep you updated.