Conditions look favorable for the fur market heading
into first international sales of the season
This is an excerpt from Trapper & Predator Caller’s December 2014 Fur Market Report.
By Serge Lariviére
Glimmers of hope start to emerge as we approach the official start of the 2015 selling season.
Many of our readers are now as busy as can be on their traplines, with a large proportion of the harvest likely already accounted for. Others have freezers full of skins, waiting for nasty weather to spend time in the fur shed putting up pelts for the sale. Down South, trapping is now at its best. Cold weather makes animals move and deer seasons are now mostly over, leaving the woods a little more quiet for trappers to roam around. But one thing is for sure, any trapper out there is hoping for the best prices possible for their catch, and last year’s dramatic drop likely created a large number of pessimistic trappers.
As we relay the news from the fur industry and as we listen carefully for any hint of what might be coming our way next, we strive to inform and analyze what it might mean for trappers in the field, but no one knows for sure until the first few sales occur. This is perhaps the most nerve-racking time of the year for many in the fur industry, maybe also for trappers and certainly for all fur buyers out there.
Fur buyers must gamble and take risks constantly as they try to anticipate what the markets will do before they decide what prices to offer to trappers. If they offer too low, they lose goods to other buyers or lose the trust of trappers. If they offer too high, they lose their shirt or their entire business. It’s not easy being a fur buyer under such tough conditions.
When the first international sales of the year start to occur, everyone —trappers included — gets a better feel for what the world is ready to pay for wild fur and how local economic conditions are shaping up. When buyers start buying, auctioneers, brokers and sellers all start to “feel” what the current market conditions might be, and then find peace of mind knowing at least the rough levels the market is likely to oscillate around. Until then, speculation is all we have and all we can base our predictions on. And volatile conditions can cause predictions to change rapidly; more rapidly than we can sometimes announce.
Glimmers of hope suggest we take a cautiously optimistic look at the upcoming market conditions. Several of the negative factors of this past year have lifted off the fur industry, lightening the burden on the trade by reassuring buyers and manufacturers.
Serge Lariviére, a Trapper & Predator Caller field editor, is a wildlife biologist in Quebec, Canada. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a preview of the December 2014 Fur Market Report. The full column, including a species by species breakdown, is available in the December 2014 issue of Trapper & Predator Caller.
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