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Currency effect boosts UK leather exports

Full-year figures for 2017 show that the value of UK leather exports went up across all categories: raw, part-processed and finished. Total export revenues last year were just under £350 million, an 8.8% increase compared to the figure for 2016.

In terms of volume, there was a fall in exports overall of 0.8%, reaching just over 170 kilotonnes, according to government figures that UK Leather Federation (UKLF) has not yet been able to verify.

The value of imported leather also rose slightly, reaching just under £190 million, an increase of 0.5%. Import volumes fell to 25.9 kilotonnes, a decline of 1.1%.

“On face value,” UKLF said, “it suggests that UK tanners are selling less leather but getting more money for it. This is particularly so for finished leather, where export values are up 13%, but volumes are down by 6%.”
The organisation pointed out, however, that the value of sterling has fallen “quite dramatically” since 2016 and exports are therefore worth more in sterling even if the dollar or euro price hasn’t changed.
It said the influence of currency appears clearer in the import figures, where values for imports of raw material were up but volumes were down (especially considering that hide prices fell in the second half of 2017) while, for finished leather, values were down when volumes were up.
UKLF director, Dr Kerry Senior, commented: “I think we can say the industry has benefited from the fall in sterling with regards to exports but that this appears to have been balanced by a decline  in volumes of finished leather exports, which may be symptomatic of the difficult conditions the global industry is experiencing.”

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