The global decline of the leather market affected the usual rendezvous with APLF – MM&T, scheduled from 30 March to 1 April at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.
A slower trade show that recorded fewer visitors than usual for reasons that analyst Ron Sauer thus summarizes:
«APLF – MM&T was “quieter”, just like the market in Asia and in many parts of the world in this moment. There are many complex reasons: the reduced demand from Russia and China, warehouses of important brands still full after a mild winter and the progressive and continuous substitution of leather with synthetics»
In any case, the factor that seems to have the greatest impact is the big slowdown of China that, receiving only a few orders from its American and European customers, has almost immobilized the demand for leathers.
Some positive notes emerge from those who debuted at APLF – MM&T, like Zimbabwe:
«We have never recorded so much interest for our leather as in these days»
declared the African exhibitors.
The prospects built during the trade show by Turkey are positive too, as it had also the privilege of being the Focus Country. The country, in fact, despite the enormous difficulties emerged after the drop in the Russian demand, was able to open to new markets like USA, Middle East, Europe and China itself.
The divisions that have been less affected by the difficult moment are those that have specialized in automotive and furniture. Two fields that stimulated the demand for leather in 2015 and whose growth, above all car sales, probably will not drop in Europe, USA and China in 2016 too.
What are the comments of Italians? According to Massimo Valente of Erretre the trade show was disappointing:
«The decline of China and India paralyzed the market»
Bruno Muccignat of LMF Biokimica is more positive:
«The trade show went fairly well despite China’s difficulties, due to financial problems (exchange rate and stock exchange), the slowdown of growth rates, which do not reach the double figure anymore, the increasingly higher labor cost and increasingly pressing demands from the Chinese government to move tanneries inside the country in order to make them safer and less polluting through waste water treatment plants»
Someone from Tecnochimica points out:
«The slowdown is very clear. We are working very well with Pakistan, but it is not enough to compensate the loss of other countries»
Giulio Tandura of Fratelli Carlessi makes a deeper analysis:
«2016 has had a good start and we do not lack orders. The trade show, though, was not positive. I consider it as a cyclic occurrence that surely has not been helped by the fact that there are so many events so close to each other. Visitors of this event are more and more foreigners who moved their company to China. Customers from USA, South America and Japan are missing. As regards Carlessi, we keep on facing hard times relying on the quality of products, cost reduction, research (we have recently inaugurated a lab that will enable us to experiment and innovate) and on consultancy, which means, first of all, teaching customers how to exploit at best our machines»
In this situation, according to Paolo Matelli of Alpe, there are other countries that can cause great satisfaction:
«We rely a lot on India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – This is also why we have been able to start also 2016 with good orders. China is slowing down also because the time when tanneries kept on arising only in order to profit from government funding is over»
TANNERY OF THE YEAR
During APLF – MM&T the British magazine World Leather gave the Tannery of the Year 2016 award to the Brazilian tannery Couro do Norte, which demonstrated to have adopted the strictest guidelines on sustainability and product traceability compared to the other companies competing for the prize, which came from Iceland, India, Sweden, USA, Sudan and China.