As the trading year draws to a close, buyers and sellers are reflecting on a year of relative pig price stability.

But with producer returns in many cases failing to match production costs, very few producers will be ending the year in a stronger financial position than at the start.

The GB Euro Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price slipped slightly to 101.68p/kg this week compared with its overall 2005 average of 103.94p/kg.

Remarkably the 2004 average is almost identical at 103.90p

Spot quotes remained relatively firm with bacon trading in the 104–107p/kg range up by an average of 5p/kg compared with December 2004.

Cutters continue to earn a useful premium with reports of prices between 109–115p/kg and lightweight porkers touching 118p/kg in places.

Finished pig availability is still tight with no reports of any significant numbers held up in the system

In fact, if retail demand holds firm next week extra pigs could well be required to fill the gaps.

The sow market has also held at similar levels with buyers offering at “stand on” prices for the fourth week running and base quotes in the 77–79p/kg range.

The value of the euro has remained virtually static and opened on Monday worth 68p – 1.3% down on its value twelve months ago.

Weaner values are reflecting the outlook for reasonably firm finished pig prices in the spring, but there is a way to go before producers make a reasonable margin.

The Meat and Livestock Commission 30kg ex farm quote improved to £33.70/head.