By Peter Crichton

Tuesday, 14 July, 1998

EXCESS supplies of US pigmeat coming on to the world market are piling on the pressure for UK pig producers.

Increased US pork exports are pushing European Union pigmeat supplies out of Far Eastern markets, UK pig traders say. This is creating a bottleneck of pigmeat awaiting shipment throughout the EU.

The strength of Sterling is compounding the problem for UK pig producers. Imported pigmeat remains cheap and UK exports are uncompetitive except at a major discount.

The problem has also had knock-on effects for the UK sow market where prices remain weak. UK sow exporters are finding it increasingly difficult to export to Europe without losing money.

US pig numbers are well up on this time last year and American exports are increasing. The US breeding herd stood at 7 million head six weeks ago and the total number of pigs stood at 61.6 million on 1 June.