Pig prices steady despite import competition

Pig prices are holding steady in the hot weather despite the carbon dioxide shortage and falling demand.

In the week ending 23 June, the EU-spec Standard Pig Price (SPP) fell just 0.04p/kg to 150.03p/kg.

However, this is 12.25p/kg lower than year earlier levels.

The All Pigs Price (APP) reporting lags a week behind the SPP and rose by almost 0.5p/kg in the week ending 16 June to 152.90/p/kg.

With the difference between UK and EU pig prices remaining over 20p/kg since the start of May, competition from imported produce has likely risen, says AHDB.

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Weaner prices are likely to stay under pressure, says consultant Peter Crichton, as buyers are cautious about the likely cost of straw and feed.

The hot weather means sausage sales are doing well. Volumes sold were up 4.5% on the year in the 12 weeks to 20 May, according to retail analyst Kantar Worldpanel.

Bacon sales are stable but fresh and frozen pigmeat is down 4% on the year. Retail prices are up about 30% on the year, accounting for some of the fall in fresh pork sales, which could struggle more as the hot weather continues, says Kantar.  

Exports up, prices down

The EU exported 167,800t of pork during April, which was 7% more than in the same month last year.

However, with average export prices down 10% on the year, the value of those exports was 3% lower than in the same month last year.

China is the EU’s biggest pork customer and took 8% more compared with a year earlier, at 51,500t, but at prices which were 18% lower than in April 2017.

While China is a valuable outlet for excess supply, its domestic pork prices are going through a challenging period, so EU export prices need to remain competitive, says AHDB.

EU production numbers

January-March 2018 saw EU pigmeat production reach 6.2m tonnes, with 66.3 million pigs slaughtered.

This is an increase of 246,000t (+4%) compared with the first quarter last year, following a strong start to 2018 and also an increase in weights.

EU pig slaughterings in March were 22.4 million head, 0.5% lower year on year however the earlier Easter meant fewer working days in the month. On a working day basis, slaughterings were 9% higher than year earlier levels, says AHDB.

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