V M Khaleelur Rahman
Chennai, Sept 5: The leather goods sector increased its exports by 10.76 per cent to $ 428.98 million in 1998-99 (April-March) and captured the first place in the foreign exchange earnings among leather and leather products segments pushing leather garments to the second position.
The garments sector suffered a setback of 13.31 per cent coming down from $ 425.21 million in 1997-98 to $ 368.60 million in 1998-99.
The leather goods sector has great potential to grow by leaps and bounds. There is good demand for different varieties of leather goods such as purses, band-bags, brief-cases, school bags etc here at home ad abroad. It gives employment opportunities to thousands of people, particularly women. More and more skilled and unskilled women are entering this sector.
Eastern region is far ahead of other regions in its exports of leather goods to the tune of $ 283.86 million in the year 1998-99 which is higher by 12.81 per cent from its previous year exports of $ 251.62 million. Southern region standssecond with its exports of $ 69.72 million in 1998-99.
Northern region exported $ 39.02 million worth of leather goods, whereas the western region exports were of $ 22.77 million in the year 1998-99. The local market is ``dull'' with only some `patchy' business taking place here and there.
Tanned goat skins 3/4 suede was sold at Rs 26.00 per sq ft and rejection and langda at around Rs 125.00 and Rs 90.00 per kg respectively.
S/C goat suede leather A/B/C meant for garment were sold at Rs 50.00 per sq ft whereas sheep nappa leather lot fetched around Rs 45.00 per sq ft.
Sheep cabretta was also slow in sales at around Rs 60.00 per sq ft.
Prices of raw goat skins ruled at around Rs 45.00 per piece in non-suede areas and at around Rs 100.00 in good suede areas.
Garment manufacturers offered leather garments polo types at around $ 50.00 and long coats at around $ 70.00 with the hope that overseas buyers who have returned from holidays would contribute to some business.
S/C goat lining leathers of goodquality were offered at around $ 0.80 per sq ft and upper leather at around $ 1.30 per sq ft C&F.
Some shoe manufacturers are getting ready to participate in the GDS International Footwear Fair to be held in Dusseldorf, Germany from September 9-12, 1999 which is considered to be the most important one for the shoe makers.