By Peter Crichton

WITH the weekly UK kill over 30,000 head down on the year and many producers now locked into negative equity, the outlook remains grim for the UK pig industry, according to the major players.

Although most predictions for prices this autumn indicate an upswing, with Reference prices in the EU still lagging and a stronger Pound, cheaper imports will continue to have a negative effect on UK prices.

Pig consultants have warned that the financial position of the industry remains on a knife-edge and, unless we see a move to at least 100p/kg for the remainder of the year, the banks will start to move in on some of their-over borrowed customers.

On the price front the UK AESA has slipped to 84.18p for the week ending 5 August, and most spot quotes are also expected to ease back in sympathy.

Weaner quotes also continue to lose ground, with the UK average spot price for 30kg pigs at its lowest level for six months standing at just £24.49, some £7/head below the latest Signet production costs.

Because of the difficult times being faced throughout the industry trade sources believe that we may also see further takeovers, mergers and closures in the abattoir and group marketing sectors in the near future.