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Wednesday, September 19, 2001

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US attack dampens leather trading

K. Asadullah Basha

WHILE the leather industry has already been witnessing sluggish trend in the recent weeks and exporters are waiting for fresh orders, the terrorist attack in the US has stunned the world trade including leather, since it is an export-oriented industry.

Mr M Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, Footwear Panel, Council for Leather Exports and also President of the All-India Hides and Skins Merchants Association (AISHTMA), said that while the leather industry extended its condolences and shared the tragedy, he felt there would be an all-round impact on the Indian leather industry.

The just-concluded 92nd GDS International Shoe Fair, considered to be the world's biggest, held between September 13 to 16, fell first victim to this disaster. According to latest reports, he said, it started and ended with subdued note only because of l ess traffic and without any buyers from America. The first-ever buyer-seller meet to have been organised by the Indian leather industry under the aegis of CLE in New York in October had also been indefinitely postponed, said Mr Ahmed.

As such, except for small transactions, the market has come to a standstill. While the crash of rupee against dollar has brought in cheers as a `blessing in disguise' for some, those who depend on imported hides and skins and allied materials are worried . The mood in the market was so dull that nobody was prepared to enter into any new contracts and were adopting a wait and watch policy. Industry experts say a clear picture will emerge only after a couple of weeks.

Generally, no considerable change was reported in both domestic and overseas markets for all leather and leather products.

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