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Vietnam takes over as top buyer of US wet blue

Official figures from the Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA) show that US packers, tanners and traders shipped nearly 5.6 million hides to leather manufacturers overseas in the first three months of 2020. The figure for the same period last year was 6.3 million, which means a fall of 11.1%.

In the first quarter of 2020, hide exports comprised 4.5 million wet-salted hides and just over 1 million wet blue, falls of 13% and 3% respectively.

In terms of value, hide shipments brought in $282.9 million in the first three months of this year, a decline overall of 13.9%. Wet-salted hides brought in $172.3 million, while the figure for wet blue was $110.6 million, falls of 20% for the former but of only 1% for the latter.
Wet blue exports to China increased over the three-month period, by 11% in volume, reaching 301,493 hides, and by 14% in value, reaching almost $31.5 million.

There were increases, too, for Vietnam, which imported 3% more wet blue hides, 307,618 pieces, for a value that was 5% higher at almost $34.6 million. And because there were stark declines in the volume and value of wet blue shipments to Italy, these figures left Vietnam as, clearly, the lead market for US wet blue in the first quarter of 2020.

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