By Herman Jansen, Managing Director at North American Fur Auctions
August 14, 2013
Both NAFA’s February and May 2013 auctions set attendance records with over 700 buyers at each sale. They made the 2013 selling season one to be remembered. NAFA’s record offering of wild fur and ranch mink in both our February and May sale, resulted in our auction room being filled to capacity, with additional seating having to be place along the outer aisles. We are currently in the process of enlarging our auction room by a further 50% to accommodate additional buyers that we expect from around the world. As unbelievable as it may seem, we could very well have attendances that are between 700 and 1,000 buyers.
The promotional work that was done by NAFA’s marketing team has paid huge dividends and in particular, it has paid off in our auction room for NAFA shippers. The premium paid in our auction room in both February and May compared to other sales was stunning. If you combine the averages for February and May for most of the important wild fur articles, you cannot help but smile.
This past season proved the point that larger quantities attract buyers, especially the Chinese, who need these large volumes. Chinese manufacturers are large volume manufacturers and it is very important to them that they have sufficient quantities to operate a full line in their factory. Raccoon, Muskrats, Coyotes and, to a lesser extent Beaver, fit perfectly with their thinking. When you consider that the world is consuming in excess of 50 million mink skins a year and that China is the biggest consumer of mink, it only makes sense that we need to maintain or increase our wild fur quantities. When you look at our markets, we have to remember that China has a population of 1.3 billion people. It has an economy that continues to grow and continues to create a stronger upper middle class that is very interested in buying luxury goods.
The international trimming trade was a major supporter of wild fur throughout the season and it was their tremendous support that influenced prices the most. Raccoon, muskrat, coyote, fisher and sable all saw huge price increases compared to last season and will continue to do well. China dominated, but other markets such as Russia and Greece also competed extensively. In the trimming business, it is worthwhile mentioning that other countries, like Canada and Europe, played a major role. NAFA sold a record quantity of almost to one million raccoon this season at very high price levels and in certain sections, I believe we obtained historically high prices. Muskrats also achieved historic price levels, in our May sale. We are by far the largest wild fur auction in the world, and as a result, together with the WFSC, we are committed to playing the leading role in the wild fur business.
This leadership role includes working in other areas of the fur business, continually trying to improve prices and clearances. For the second time, NAFA’s WFSC has set aside a large fund to be used for improving the quality of beaver dressing techniques in China. Once again, we are sending an expert dressing technician from Canada to China to help our most important customers.
For the 2014 selling season we expect continuous strong demand for all of our wild fur. As long as we have a normal, cold winter in China, Russia, and to a lesser extent the rest of the world, then once again we could be setting records. NAFA’s turnover for this year will be in excess of U.S.$800 million, with the wild fur component selling over U.S.$90 million for the first time since the 1980’s.
Your NAFA team is looking at next year with special emphasis at working more closely with the leading international fashion designers, to make sure that we keep wild fur in its prominent position.
Please look for updated market reports on our website in the Fall, at www.nafa.ca, as we draw nearer to the start of our 2014 season. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal shippers for the excellent support they have given us and wish you a safe and pleasant summer.