This year started with an increase in optimism in the leather supply chain as tanners started to replenish their stocks of raw material to meet increasing orders. However, as the February 11 edition of our exclusive Leather Pipeline market intelligence report makes clear, the coronavirus outbreak has dealt this increased confidence a major blow, reports Leatherbiz.
The APLF exhibition in Hong Kong has been postponed. Tanneries, like many other workplaces, have been slow to re-open in China following the Lunar New Year holiday. Many shops have remained closed too, or have opened for reduced hours only because of fears of the coronavirus spreading further than it already has done. By February 11, the number of confirmed cases rose above 43,000 and the number of deaths above 1,000.
“Outside China we are still seeing business as usual,” the Leather Pipeline report said. “So far, Europeans and Americans continue to be quite relaxed and at this stage one has to assume that most exhibitors and visitors will turn up as usual for the events that are going ahead, such as Micam and Lineapelle [in Milan].”
However, the report warned, this could alter from one day to the next if the general situation changes or the spread of the virus accelerates.
It concluded that the big problem the coronavirus gives the global leather industry at the moment is that it has made it almost impossible for anybody to make accurate forecasts about anything.