Pig prices hint at stability after tough 12 months

Pig prices are finally showing signs of stability after sliding sharply over the past year.

The standard pigs price stayed flat at 132.6p/kg last week, while the all pigs price dropped just a tenth of a penny to 136.5p/kg.

Pig values remain about 18% lower than 12 months ago, as Russia’s import ban and high European production continue to weigh on prices.

But analysts suggest the seasonal rise in prices between February and June could lead to some recovery in the coming weeks, while EU emergency measures could lend support across the Continent.

See also: Pig producer confidence down after European price collapse

The European Commission launched private storage aid in March, paying abattoirs to keep pigmeat in store for more than 90 days.

Stuart Ashworth, head of economics services at Quality Meat Scotland, said the scheme had proved popular in Spain, Denmark, Poland and Germany, with about 40,000t of meat placed into stores.

“Although this is a relatively modest quantity of meat – accounting for about 2% of monthly production – it has had some effect in supporting prices in those countries that have used it,” he said.

“Nevertheless, on average European producer prices are 10% lower than a year ago.”

UK pig producers have not seen pig prices bounce back in the past couple of months.

European prices are now 7.5% than in late January, though they have slipped again over the past fortnight.

Consultant Peter Crichton said many British farmers were selling pigs at a loss, with costs of production at 135-140p/kg deadweight.

“A return to more spring-like weather might help to stimulate demand, but the whole supply chain is continuing to suffer from cost-cutting imports at a time when retailers are also looking to retain their margins while undercutting their competitors,” Mr Crichton said.

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