The EU has discontinued its Private Storage Aid (PSA) scheme, which supported the cost of taking pigmeat off the market temporarily and storing it until prices improved.
The PSA scheme was introduced in early February and pig prices in continental European countries stabilised as a result. However, those prices took a knock last week when the closure of the scheme was announced.
Stronger prices in other EU members states means that the gap between the UK and the rest of the EU has narrowed to around 8p/kg deadweight, making the UK a less attractive market for imports. Recent months have seen the price gap at more than 21p/kg, with prices generally higher in the UK, partly reflecting higher costs of products here because of more demanding welfare standards.
Germany, Spain and Denmark were the main users of the PSA scheme.