U.S. Mink Manufacturers Eye Growing Chinese Demand for Fur
Cold weather and enthusiastic Asian demand has U.S. mink fur producers hoping to cash in this season in China, the leading market, with status-conscious shoppers there buying up record numbers of fur coats.
CCTV America’s Chris Casquejo reported this story from Seattle, Washington.
In 2012, U.S. exports of mink pelts to China reached a record high of $215.5 million. In 2013, a top quality black pelt sold for an impressive $120-$180 at auction. But last year, prices dropped by more than a third. A drop in demand was blamed on a warmer than usual winter in China. At the same time, China doubled its domestic mink production, contributing to a record 80 million pelts produced worldwide.
“What we saw last year was tremendous oversupply. The exact opposite of what we’d seen the previous five years. It was kind of a perfect storm. That oversupply matched perfectly with a pretty warm winter in China,” Joe Morelli the president and CEO of the American Legend Cooperative said.
While American retail demand for fur is down, driven in large part by animal rights activism, Asia’s enthusiasm is increased. Asia now leads the world in fur consumption, accounting for about 35 percent of the total, according to the International Fur Trade Federation.
Up to 800 wholesale buyers are expected to attend a fur action in Helsinki in March, where the American Legend Cooperative hopes to sell 2.4 million mink pelts. “We’ll go through and try to determine the best qualities and best size and best color features that we’re trying to look for to produce a beautiful garment for the public to wear,” Utah mink farmer Ryan Holt said.
American Legend’s president points to one good early sign for the U.S. mink industry — a cold winter in northeast China.“I’m speaking about cities like Shenyang, Harbin, Changchun. The sales up there have been have been extremely good. Retail stores have cleared out,” Morelli said.