A quick look at Brazilian Hides and Skins exports throughout 2016 reflects that which was the industry’s key-word throughout the year: overcoming. Even though the economy and the international market suffered significant setbacks, Brazil managed to grow – 2016 registered an increase of 3.8% in comparison to 2015, reaching 193.9 million square meters shipped overseas. In value, the result was contrasting: Brazilian exports reached US$ 2.033 billion, a decrease of 10.3% in relation to the previous year. The analysis comes from the Department of Trade Intelligence at CICB (the Centre for the Brazilian Tanning Industry), following figures released by the Department of Foreign Trade from the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC).
It is unanimous within the tanning industry that 2016 was an extremely difficult year, specially due to prices downfall in the international market, a decrease in consumption in China (Brazil’s major buyer), as well as the Brazilian political instability and the exchange rate fluctuation. According to executive president of CICB, José Fernando Bello, such factors have created an unfavorable environment for leather exports – and that has a highly negative impact on Brazil, since the country sells 70% of its production to the foreign market (in 2016 alone, 77 countries bought Brazilian hides and skins). “It’s been a year of hard work, with an extensive international agenda so we could reach such figures”, highlights Bello. He recalls the intense presence of Brazilian executives in international trade fairs, visits to clients worldwide and business missions focused on opening new markets and closing orders so to maintain production plants working at a sustainable level.
Regarding the types of leather exported, semi-finished and finished played a key role in the year’s final results: they registered a growth of 54.3% and 8.7% in area, respectively. It is a positive number when taken in consideration that one of industry’s main objectives is to have a larger participation of articles of high added value from Brazil in the international market. Sales of wet blue, for example, have shown a decrease of 1.7%. Another interesting highlight is that Brazilian bovine leather exports grew 8.4% in square meters, reducing by 8.5% its fall in values, when raw / salted hides and wet blue split are left out.
According to José Fernando Bello, the expectation for 2017 is that hides and skins sales grow 5% in area.