Blade Show has just announced that they are not planning on cancelling this year’s show in Atlanta, June 5th-7th, despite the raft of trade shows which are closing over Wuhan Coronavirus concerns. They are likely banking on the outbreak running its course as warmer weather returns. By June the overall picture should be much more clear than it is today.
That said, the knife industry has begun to feel the impact. The following sidebar is excerpted from a larger article on Chinese knife companies in our upcoming April issue.
Wuhan Coronavirus impacts knife industry:
At the time of this writing, the full impact of the Coronavirus is yet to be known. It is however starting to have an effect on the knife industry, especially the Chinese companies. According to off the record sources, the situation is “a bit messy” right now, with those companies who didn’t have a supply of raw material stockpiled most affected due to shipping and supply chain disruptions. According to NASA, skies over China have cleared precipitously, with no sign yet of factory pollution increasing to pre crisis levels.
Coronavirus fears have caused the postponement of the IWA Outdoor Trade Show in Nuremberg, Germany less than a week before it was set to begin. (It has since been rescheduled for September 3rd-6th, 2020). There is talk that April’s NRA Meeting in Nashville might be next.
Japan and Italy, two countries with significant knife production, are two of the hardest hit outside of China. If the pandemic ends up causing a wider ranging economic slowdown, it will obviously impact US knife companies.. We don’t yet know if the virus will take firm hold in the US, and if it does what effect it will have on domestic manufacturing.
When the virus finally subsides, we will likely see American and European companies begin to diversify their supply chains into countries outside of China, as a hedge against future disruption. This will leave excess production capacity at Chinese factories, but whether we see an industry contraction or more upstart companies step in to fill the vacuum remains to be seen.
Knife Magazine Premium Subscribers can see the larger “West meets East” article on Chinese knife companies from which this is excerpted (about a week before the print issue hits mailboxes) by clicking on the blue box below.