2018 was a challenging year for the global tanning industry, and the United Kingdom was no exception. Export as a whole (finished, semi-finished, and raw hides) were down by 14.9% in value (296.3 million UK pounds) and by -11.9% in volume (over 151,000 tons) on yearly base. At the same time, import fell by 22.5% and 8.2% respectively, for decrement of 145.2 million UK pounds. The data was provided by Leather UK, the British Leather association.
Raw hides: deadweight
Raw material for the tanning industry had the worst result of all: lost 21.9% in value and 12.8% in volume, denoting a specifically bearish trend of prices over the year. Semi-finished hides performed a little better, with a -1.9% in value due to the good performance of bovine hides, which was nullified by the ovine segment. The foreign revenue from finished leather, on the other hand, lost 10%.
Italy and China are the two main international interlocutors for the UK: in fact, they purchase 74.9% of British raw material. Moreover, Rome’s weight is growing. Its quota of raw hides increased by 5% in 2018, taking over (almost) China’s -6% performance. Wet blue and semi-finished, of which Italy alone buys 78% of the value, remain the most relevant types. Lastly, Rome moreover, Italy imports 58.9% of UK finished leather. The quota was 61.3% in 2017.