COPENHAGEN Feb 14 The price of mink fur has
dropped almost 40 percent at auction in Denmark this year after
hosts of new breeders piled into the business, attracted by the
record sums China's middle class had been willing to pay for the
The price had tripled over five years to reach an average of
570 Danish crowns ($100) per skin, a record high, last year at
Kopenhagen Fur, the world's largest fur auction house.
But at this week's auction, which began on Sunday and is the
second of five this season, the average price for the 7.1
million skins under the hammer is set to fall to around 350-360
crowns per skin, Kopenhagen Fur said.
"The price last year was crazy because the world demand has
been rising explosively in some years and the production has
lagged behind," its chairman, Tage Pedersen, said.
"Now the production is getting in to gear, and so we are
experiencing more normal prices".
Pedersen said global output of mink skins has doubled in
five years as farmers got into the lucrative business.
"The demand in China had a slow start this season due to
mild weather. But now there is a lot of cold and snow and so
more products will be sold again," Pedersen said, adding that he
could not predict future price.
The latest drop could mean that mink is catching up with a
wider trend. A survey by the Hurun Report showed last month that
wealthy Chinese are set to buy fewer luxury goods again this
year, after their overall spending fell by 15 percent in 2013,
the third consecutive year of decline.
This pattern may be changing the game for high-end Western
retailers of goods like shoes, bags and watches that have staked
their growth on China.
Mink are typically reared for fur in cages and around 60 of
the mammals are used to make one fur coat.
Denmark produces about a quarter of the world's mink and mink
accounted for around 40 percent of the country's exports to
China last year, according to Kopenhagen Fur.
While China is as big a producer as Denmark, mink fur
produced in Europe is of a higher quality, according to European
and Chinese buyers, because of clean water supplies, better feed
and higher veterinary standards.
Knud J. Vest, vice chairman of the European Fur Breeders'
Association, said he now expected some mink breeders, mainly in
China but also in Europe and North America, to quit the sector.
"As the prices are lower, the weakest producers will leave
the market again," Vest said.
He said that he did not anticipate a crisis like the one
faced by the mink industry from 1989 to 1996, when around half
of the breeders in Europe and North America left the business.
($1 = 5.4603 Danish crowns)
(Reporting by Teis Jensen; Additional reporting by Clare
Baldwin in Hong Kong; Editing by Anthony Barker)