Finnish fur producers feel the pinch as demand from China stays low
Declining demand for furs in China is being felt in the Finnish "fur producing belt" in central western Finland, media reported on Wednesday.
"I hope the banks will show understanding. Also the next book keeping cycle is certain to end in red numbers," fur entrepreneur Jari Plusisaari from Kalvia told the business daily Kauppalehti.
"The prices of furs are now so low that we can make no profit," he said, adding that his family is not going to lay off workers, but will wait for better times. "Otherwise when the market gets livelier, we would be just the family here."
Kauppalehti reported that the predominantly Swedish speaking town of Nykarleby is currently particularly badly hit. Mats Brandt, director of Nykarleby, told national broadcaster Yle recently that the 7,500-people town suffered from the situation.
Some 14 percent of municipal tax revenue comes from fur producers. In 2017, local fur farms sold furs worth almost 40 million euros (US$45.38 million).
Kauppalehti quoted the International Fur Federation describing the market in China as difficult. The federation said in January that the demand in the key area in northeastern China declined last year by 50 percent.
The current downturn has continued for five years. In 2013 Finland exported furs worth 810 million euros, but in 2017 the figure was 430 million, Kauppalehti reported.
There are about 1,000 fur farms in Finland. In the 1950s there were over 4,000 fur producers in Finland. At the turn of the century there were still 1,700.