Leatherbiz reports that Vietnam is still on track to take over as the second-biggest importer of wet blue from the US. Italy is still the single most important buyer of US wet blue, in spite of a consistent decline throughout 2019. China is second at the moment but new figures, for the first ten months of the year, show that Vietnam continues to catch up.
Overall, US packers, traders and tanners exported more than 19.8 million hides between January and October, a decline of 16.4% compared to the same period in 2018.
Wet salted hides constituted almost 16.7 million of the 2019 total, with just over 3.1 million exporting as wet blue. Wet salted volumes were down by 15% year on year, while the corresponding decline for wet blue was 23%.
In terms of value, hide exports in the first ten months of 2019 brought in $977.7 million, a decrease of 28%. Of this total, $641 million corresponds to wet salted and $336.6 million to wet blue, declines of 32% and 20% respectively.
Italy’s imports of wet blue, while still the biggest in terms of volume and value, have fallen by 32% and 26% respectively. It imported 975,000 wet blue hides from the US in the first ten months of this year, paying $108.7 million for them.
China’s figures were volumes of just over 877,000 US wet blue hides, which had a value of $89.8 million. These figures show a decline of 31% in volume and of 30% in value.
In contrast, the volume of US wet blue shipped to Vietnam over the 10-month period increased by 7%, reaching just under 790,000 pieces. The value of wet blue exports from the US to Vietnam over the same period increased by 13% year on year, reaching $86.1 million, $3.7 million behind the figure for China. This time last year, the difference in value between wet blue shipments to China and those to Vietnam was more than $52 million.