The recent spell of cold weather should help to improve retail demand for pig meat, traders say.

But colder weather can also reduce output by triggering a drop in pig growth rates and a rise in respiratory diseases.

European prices have remained firm in the run up to Christmas with German, Dutch, Danish and French quotes moving ahead by up to 2%.

The latest GB Euro Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price reflected this firmer trend, rising to 101.63p for deliveries week commencing 21 November.

With very few unsold pigs left in the system, UK pigmeat prices over the next few weeks are forecast to remain firm, providing retail demand does not dip.

Spot bacon buyers increased their quotes for supplies this week with most bids in the 103–105p/kg range.

Lighter weight cutters enjoyed a 5–7p/kg premium above this reflecting dearer lamb and pork prices at the shop counter.

Cull sow values have also remained firm with export abattoirs quoting in the 75–78p/kg range according to specification.

The recent modest recovery in the value of the euro, which opened on Monday at 68.7p, should also help to maintain cull values and prevent imports from further undercutting the domestic market.

But weaner quotes have remained generally flat with the Meat and Livestock Commission 30kg average near static at £33.60/head.