Hide waste will also continue in 2020 according to the Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA), the American Association that this year brings together both tanneries and hides & skins suppliers. “The leather industry has experienced an extremely tough market for the last several years, which will likely continue in 2020. Plastic synthetic alternatives that look like leather but are not leather have taken significant market-share away from the material in consumer product areas such as footwear and automobile upholstery. The situation is so dire that some lower-quality hides and skins are being composted and destroyed rather than processed into leather, a trend that will continue in 2020”.
The U.S. hides and skins market experienced further price declines throughout 2019, and exports of these products declined in both volume and value compared to 2018. In addition to systemic problems in the global leather market, which pushed prices lower, the industry contended with macro-level political instability that injected significant uncertainty into the market throughout the year. Although the expansion of the U.S. cattle herd has appeared to stall, slaughter levels are expected to remain relatively stable – though growing at a slightly slower pace – providing ample hides to the market in 2020.
There are great fears related to economic impacts of the Covid-19 emergency which poses new challenges for supply chains. “It is difficult to predict the exact economic effect of the virus – reads the LHCA press release – but it is likely that it will be significant considering the labour shortage registered in ports and production facilities abroad. At the moment the work is going on but the situation could change if ports were forced to close or if the low availability of containers should get worse”.