PIG MEAT imports are penetrating the UK market as EU prices continue to ease.

German and Belgian pig prices have fallen over the past week (to May 10), by 2.25p/kg and 4.26p/kg respectively. The strong Pound is adding to the effect of this on import values.

Traders claim that reduced consumer uptake and the release of supplies held under the Private Storage Aid Scheme are behind poor general demand.

Cull sow prices, which fell sharply following the admission of the 10 new member countries at the start of May, have now stabilised at about 62p/kg.

Spot and contract quotes for bacon pigs in the UK are generally unchanged, reflecting lacklustre demand and the availability of cheaper foreign imports.

The GB Euro DAPP put on just 0.25p in the w/e May 1, to 109.7p/kg, with demand for lighter weights 4-6p/kg above this.

Weaner traders are also reporting patchy demand, with the Meat and Livestock Commission‘s 30kg average losing further ground to stand at £35.01/head ex-farm.

This week‘s (May 10) Pig and Poultry Fair at Stoneleigh should provide the industry with feedback from all sectors of the trade concerning future opportunities and challenges.

Further details of the opening of the Chinese market to British pig meat will be eagerly awaited. 

Stewart Houston, chairman of the British Pig Executive, has spoken of a generally successful trade mission to Bejing in April but warned of the lengthy process involved in getting export certificates and other documentation agreed beforehand.

The BPEX trade mission could lead to trade estimated at £15m a year in the supply of breeding stock as well as the export of certain carcass cuts which have high values in South-East Asia.

But pig traders fear that unless significant profitability returns to the whole of the GB pig industry, further pig unit and abattoir closures will be inevitable.