By Peter Crichton

THE strong Pound eased a little this week, but pig prices continue to slide towards the bargain-basement levels seen earlier in the year.

Most auction pigs this week traded in the 62-68p/kg range, according to weight and quality. And although less than 5% of the countrys pigs are now sold through auction markets, returns in this sector still provide a useful early warning of forthcoming price trends.

These auction prices are equivalent to deadweight returns of 82-90p/kg, against production costs of 103p/kg, according to Signet consultants.

Producers selling on a contract basis remain insulated from the recent sharp drop in prices – but only to a certain extent. The downward slide has already filtered through to the adjusted UK Spec GB Price – which currently stands at 97.35p – and further price falls are likely.