The stabilisation of the German leather industry gained new momentum in 2000 after a small growth of 0.6 per cent in 1999, the German Leather Federation reported. For the first eight months of this year turnover grew 9.4 per cent to 350 Mio of which 47 per cent was direct export. Production of bovine grain leather is expected to grow to 14 Mio sqm's whereas calf leather production, especially for the shoe sector, is going to recover from last year's losses due to the economic crisis in the Far East. Unlike the previous year, production has been driven again by stronger export and a weaker domestic market. Direct exports made up 47 per cent of production (up eight per cent). It is estimated that some additional 20 per cent is also shipped abroad through German clients. The 60 leather producing companies, out of which 28 employ more than 20 people, represent a total work force of 3,400 employees.Continuously higher cost for raw cow hides and calf skins over the whole year made it difficult for most leather manufacturers to stay in the market with cost covering prices. Rising leather demands in most international markets, stabilisation at high levels for automotive leathers in Germany made price increases of finished leather necessary in the range of 10 to 15 per cent.