Russia’s ban on pig imports following the outbreak of swine fever in Poland has sent EU pig prices down sharply over the past month.

Average EU pig prices fell by €12/100kg in the month to 2 March, to just €155.26/100kg. “This is against the typical seasonal trend whereby prices across the continent normally strengthen from February onwards,” said a report by BPEX.

Prices in Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany all weakened throughout the month, with other countries all showing a decline. “However, the UK market has held up much better and, although the deteriorating market on the continent has had some impact, the gap compared with the EU average has further widened, to €36/100kg by the week ended 2 March,” said the report. “Until the issue of trade with Russia is resolved, the EU market outlook remains uncertain.”

Per capita pigmeat consumption in the UK fell by 3% in 2013, to average 24.1kg carcass weight equivalent – the lowest level since 2002. “Lower supply availability and increased retail prices contributed to this development,” said the report. Figures from Kantar WorldPanel showed average purchase prices were 5% higher on the year.