Weak pound helps pig prices continue their upward trend

Pig prices have continued their rising trend, with the EU-spec Standard Pig Price (SPP) exceeding 140p/kg last week for the first time since January 2015. 

Having reached 140.38p/kg, it then increased to 141.0p/kg in the week to 24 September; 10.9p/kg above the same time last year. 

The All Pig Price (APP) – which includes premium pigs – reached 142.5p/kg in the week to 17 September, putting the gap between the APP and SPP at 1.5p/kg – the smallest since at least July 2014. 

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The market was being supported by the weak pound aiding exports, tight supplies and firmer EU values, said AHDB Pork.

Both 7kg and 30kg weaners improved in the week to 24 September, rising to £35.55/head and £49.05/head, respectively. 

Average EU pig prices are also still rising, following a slight plateau in August. 

In the week ended 18 September, it had risen by almost €2 in the latest four-week period, to €165.46/100kg (142.64p/kg dw).

This is the highest price since July 2014 and is 12% up on the same week last year. 

Chinese demand

Strong Chinese demand has continued to boost the EU price, coupled with the latest census figures showing a tightening of supplies across all major producing Member States, said AHDB Pork. This had helped to support a drop in domestic demand across many EU states.

The UK average price is about 3p/kg behind that of the EU, well below the 12p/kg gap that was seen following the EU referendum vote.

In August, UK clean pig slaughterings were 3% down on last year, at 901,600 head. Sow slaughterings were 5% down, at 19,600 head, possibly reflecting improved optimism and a move to maintain or increase the breeding herd. 

Average carcass weights in August stood at 80.8kg; 600g up on the year and 200g more than in July. As a result of the lower slaughterings however pigmeat production fell by 2% on the same month in 2015, to 75,800t.