Cold weather and growing sales mock death of fur

Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:20am EST
 
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By Eva Lamppu

HELSINKI (Reuters Life!) - In a warehouse outside of Helsinki hundreds of buyers gathered to bid in a three-day auction of mink, fox and other furs just before Christmas.

Any worries about the ailing global economy, the threat of global warming, or the fading popularity of fur as fashion were firmly left outside to chill in the snow.

Bidding was brisk, and by the end of the auction all pelts were sold, compared to sales of only 30 percent of stock last year. Organizers said sales roughly tripled to 39.5 million euros ($57.3 million) against last year, with prices up -- by a third on average -- since an auction in September.

"Demand and supply are in a good balance, and there is maybe slight overdemand, which supports price levels," said Chief Executive Pertti Fallenius of Turkistuottajat, which says it is the world's only publicly listed fur auctioneer.

While the fur market looks to be challenging in the coming years, weighed by a variety of factors including increasing social pressure against its use, the auction clearly showed that any talk of fur's death is greatly exaggerated.

And the industry has certainly got a boost from the recent cold snap that has dumped snow on many countries across the Northern hemisphere.

CHINA BOOST, BUT STEADY DECLINE

Fallenius said one reason behind the recent uptick in the market has been a cut in output from China, which since early 2000 had sharply hiked fur production, pressing prices.   Continued...