Pork may gain from beefs loss

9 February 2001

Pork may gain from beefs loss

PIG producers might benefit from the BSE backlash across Europe as consumers turn their backs on beef and lift pork prices.

In some parts of the EU beef is almost unsaleable, says independent consultant Peter Crichton.

Firm trading on the Dutch AEX pig futures market, which topped 100p/kg at the start of this week, reflects the strength of the European market, he adds.

"That equates to about 110p in the UK. On the basis that meat eaters have got to eat something, they seem to be putting demand back into the market."

Spot prices for heavy baconers have moved back up to about 95p/kg deadweight from last months 90p lows, and he expects them to edge up again this week.

"Some of the big buyers have put 1p/kg on their prices too," he adds. This means the GB adjusted euro spec average, which slipped 1.7p to 97.46p/kg last Friday, should start to climb again.

Cull sow prices are also improving as confidence in German sausages improves.

But tightening pig supplies mean abattoirs are having to think hard about maintaining, and improving, market share, says Mr Crichton.

Latest Signet figures show pig slaughterings in 2000 fell 20% on the year, and the pattern is set to be repeated. Store pig supplies are drying up, and there are thought to be no more than 700,000 breeding sows in the UK, 100,000 fewer than two years ago.

"It is noticeable that some of the bigger suppliers are having to be a bit more innovative as far as procurement is concerned."

Contracts linked to producers costs are being pushed more, he says. "These include offers where half the quoted price is linked to cost of production figures, in the region of 100p/kg deadweight, with the other half tied to the UK AESA or similar." &#42

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