US mink pelt prices skyrocket with demand in China

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Associated Press

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 21 at 6:02 AM

SHEBOYGAN FALLS, Wis. (AP) — U.S. fur farms are rebounding after struggling through the past 15 years with low prices and competition from overseas.

Retail fur sales in the U.S. remain in a slump with the economy still struggling.

But new wealth in China is creating a surge of demand there for high-quality furs. That has sent pelt prices skyrocketing from an average of $41 in 2008 to a record $94 in 2011, the most recent year for which figures are available.

Federal agriculture officials say U.S. fur farmers sold nearly $260 million in raw mink pelts to South Korean and Chinese buyers last year.

Many pelts are made into coats sold to Chinese consumers. The China Leather Industry Association says Chinese consumers bought more than half of the fur coats sold globally in 2010.

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