V.M. Khaleelur Rahman
The Indian leather and leather products industry enjoys a valuable place in the world leather market. The types of leather, shoes, garments and goods overseas customers require are made here and exported. Despite competitions from countries like China and Pakistan, Indian exporters are faring well with their best efforts and timely assistance from the government. No doubt the progressive policy of the government is paying high dividends. However the general feeling among small entrepreneurs and traders is that their interest is not properly protected by the government and hence they are facing a threat of extinction silently. They want the government to come out with some “protective measures” to save them from collapse. It is well known that many small tanners and traders are already out of the market.
Mr. M. Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, Council for Leather Exports (CLE), has said recently that “there is slowdown in exports” and it is endorsed by many leading exporters. The inability of small exporters to operate in the present difficult market can be the main reason for the slow pace of exports. The advantage available to exporters in exchange rates is not much in comparison with increases in prices of raw hides and skins, tanning materials, labour charges, etc. The CLE Chairman has also rightly pointed out that the industry needs a stable currency to make future plans for exports.
As the leather industry is in a tight corner at present due to an unprecedented world phenomenon which nobody is able to understand and explain in proper perspective, Mr. Rafeeque Ahmed has said that the government should extend increased rate of “interest subsidies” for all types of exporters. It is welcomed by all. At present only a few export sectors like handicrafts, handlooms and carpets are enjoying the benefit of 2% interest subsidy given by the government.
There is no report of much fresh export orders due to Christmas and New Year holidays. According to reliable sources, exporters are offering their products – leather, shoes, garments, goods etc – at almost unchanged or slightly higher prices even though these prices are not workable as competitions from other countries are high in the world leather market. As far as goat and sheep upper and lining leathers are concerned, the quotations of exporters are at around the following prices:
S/C AND F/C GOAT FINISHED LEATHERS
Material Size/sq.ft. Substance Selection Price US$ per sq. ft. C&F
Goat upper leather 3/5 0.6/0.8 mm ABC 2.60
Goat suede leather 3/5 and 4/7 0.6/0.8 mm ABC/D/E 2.10/1.80/1.60
Goat lining leather 4/7 0.5/0.7 mm TR-1/2/3 1.60/1.50/1.40
S/C AND F/C SHEEP FINISHED LEATHERS
Material Size/sq.ft. Substance Selection Price US$ per sq.ft. C&F
Sheep suede/cabretta leather 4/7 0.6/0.8 mm ABC/D/E 2.50/2.00/1.50
Sheep Suede/cabretta leather 6/9 0.8/1.00 mm ABC/D/E 2.75/2.25/1.75
Sheep lining leather 3/5 and 4/7 0.5/0.7 mm TR-1/2/3 combined 1.70
In the Chennai local market, arrivals of tanned goat skins are limited as usual and there is good demand for almost all items. Exporters of leather and leather products are regularly covering their requirements at almost unchanged prices. A tanner pointed out that though there is good demand, tanners like him are not able to do much because of continuously ruling high prices of raw hides and skins everywhere in the country. The undeniable fact is that during the past three or four decades there was not a period like this when prices of all types of raw hides and skins had gone up to this extent. Moreover transactions are also now mostly by cash which was not the case in the past at all.
The following are the approximate ruling prices of tanned goat skins
3/5 or 4/7 sq. ft. Run selection Rs. 60/-, All Suedes Rs.56/-, Suedes upto Heel grip Rs.48/-, Linings A/B/C Rs.41/- and Rejections Rs.32/- (All per sq. ft.)
Raw skins and hides
Prices of standard and quality raw skins and hides are almost unchanged in different centres in the country. Of course prices are lower in those areas where these items have suffered damages due to heavy rains and cannot be used for upper or suede leathers.
(Indian Leather, January 2012)