Friday, 21 December, 2001

By Peter Crichton

PIG quotes have continued to drift as the year draws to a close.

The UK AESA has slipped by 1.39p/kg to 104.38p/kg, following several weeks of improvement.

Abattoirs have been busy in the last few days before Christmas.

Some are reported to be killing over the weekend and only missing two days before re-starting after the holiday period.

Spot prices have failed to keep pace with contract quotes, and most baconers from regular producers have traded at around 100-104p/kg, with spare loads 2-4p/kg below this.

However there are reports of last-minute retail orders in the pipeline which may put a little competition back into an otherwise lacklustre market.

Low EU prices and the Euro still stuck at 62p have continued to undercut the domestic market and damage demand for a dwindling supply of UK pigmeat.

The latest Dutch futures market reports indicate low forward prices in the 75p to 80p/kg range for the next three months.

At the same time, Dutch imports continue at high levels, with the equivalent of 41,000 live pigs from Holland hitting the domestic market every week.

The cull-sow market has also drifted lower, with export quotes at 45p/kg and domestic market sows from 40p/kg downwards.

Weaner prices have also lacked Christmas sparkle, with the Meat and Livestock Commission quoting an average 29.06 ex farm 30 kg price, which is 3-5 per head below cost of production.

Most traders believe that once the temporary holiday period oversupply is behind us we will see demand for UK pigs stabilise, but returns will continue to be dominated by the value of the Pound and worldwide pigmeat prices.

  • Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry