As Auctions Near, Optimism Grows, Especially for Muskrats

As the major North American fur auctions begin this winter and record-high prices continued at the season’s first European auctions, optimism is high for the fur market.

Alan Herscovici, the executive vice-president of the Fur Council of Canada credits “design innovation, the opening of vast Asian markets and the fur industry’s progress in articulating its side of the ethical debate” for the promising market in an article on the North American Fur Auctions’ website.

Of particular note is the muskrat market, which was the focus of multiple newspaper stories this week, including one in the Wall Street Journal:

The North American muskrat market has been booming, thanks to soaring purchases by Chinese and other newly rich nations that need muskrat fur to line coats and footwear.

Specifically, they want muskrat bellies, the felt-like fur that is practically impermeable to moisture. At $10 per pelt—five times what muskrats fetched in the 1990s—pelts were trading at new highs when bidding for last season’s furs ended in June.

The Grand Rapids Press added more on the muskrat:

“The Chinese can’t get enough of them,” said Kevin Syperda, owner of Sy’s Fur Shed, a fur buyer in Pierson. “We call (muskrat) the poor man’s mink.”

Syperda says muskrats defy economics: They are in high supply and their demand is high, yet the price for them is going up for the third consecutive year.

We’ll learn a lot more about the market in the coming weeks, but heading into auction season, it looks very promising for trappers, especially those who have targeted muskrats.

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