Short supply keeps pig price rising

By Peter Crichton

UK FINISHED pig prices are continuing to rise in the face of falling numbers.

The latest UK AESA put on another penny to stand at almost 92.5p/kg, and spot prices are also expected to improve in the coming weeks.

Currently spot baconers are worth about 95p/kg deadweight, and lighter pigs are at least breaking through the 1 barrier.

However, with two “short” weeks ahead, demand could be checked over the Easter period, after which is it expected to move forwards again.

This view is reflected by some abattoir buyers, who are prepared to put a minimum 100p/kg-plus fixed base price on the table for the next three months. This time last year, the UK AESA was stuck at 79p.

Exporters are warning that UK pigmeat is starting to look expensive compared with most of the major EU producer countries.

And with the Pound still strong against the Deutschmark, more imports will continue to hit these shores.

Pigmeat imported from Holland alone last week hit almost 3000 tonnes equivalent to 33,000 live pigs or 13% of the UK kill.

The equivalent Dutch and Danish prices are only just nudging 70p/kg deadweight and France and Spain also look competitive.

The price outlook in much of Europe remains firm, which is good news for UK producers, and trading on the Dutch futures market remains buoyant in the mid 80p/kg range right through until the end of the year.

UK cull sow prices are also a ready indicator of EU wide manufacturing pigmeat prices.

Recent deadweight quotes have been in the 66p to 72p/kg range according to quality and are expected to harden still further as supplies dry up.

  • Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry

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