Market Update — August 18, 2017
Many wild fur items are severely depressed, however muskrats saw some respectable price levels in the early part of the season. I felt we were actually very aggressive at times. This season muskrats will be affected by geopolitical situations, production numbers and ranch mink prices.
The geopolitical situation affecting muskrats is rather acute. Muskrat plates are still sold into South Korea after Chinese manufacture. The North Korean friction seems to have abated in the last week. However any type of military action in the region will seriously curtail purchases of garments in South Korea. In addition a military conflict would also put deep downward pressure on ranch mink as well. The constant bickering between the United States and North Korea doesn’t help fur sales either. Any military conflict would seriously curtail any sales to China as well. This would result in a virtual halt in all trade as the percentage of fur being used and manufactured in China is astronomical.
The production level of muskrats is at 75-100 year lows. In addition, worldwide production remains very low. Last year early indications were that production would be almost non-existent. This ‘would be’ shortage resulted in December/January prices getting a bit “frothy”. The May/June/July sales were a major disappointment for many. This was a result of a slightly bigger harvest than anticipated, international muskrats hitting the market and a fall in the price of ranch mink. Our price right now is slightly higher, however we can see very few available muskrats in storage and a long time (January) until any meaningful quantities can be assembled. I could see a little price advancement possible absent any Korean conflicts.
I don’t want to go into a dissertation on Ranch mink prices again but we all know we are held hostage to the ranch mink. Any movement in Ranch mink prices will have a similar directional impact on muskrats.
Muskrat prices will be affected by the geopolitical situation, production levels, and ranch mink prices. However the current outlook is firmer than many articles and much better than Raccoon. If you have the choice, we recommend trapping better section coyote, beaver and muskrats.
- Guy Groenewold