Peter Crichton’s commentary for April 17, 2015

Prices have remained very much in stand-on mode across the board, with the SPP easing a shade by 0.23p to 132.16p, and most spot quotes and cull sow values holding at similar levels. Unfortunately, however, there have been further falls in the value of the euro due to yet more uncertainty over the ability of the Greeks to sort out their money worries.

Most spot bacon was traded today between 128p/kg to 130p/kg, but hard to get any more than this, with lighter pigs selling to the fresh meat trade at 6p/kg to 10p/kg more than this. There are reports of better demand for legs, but loins are proving harder to clear.

Contract bacon prices, which remain tied to the SPP, have eased a shade and what are known as “weekly contribution prices” are, in some cases, as low as 125p/kg, which are well out of step with the rest of the market.

Despite falls in the value of the euro, which traded on Friday worth 71.85p compared with 72.4p a week ago, cull sow prices did at least stand-on, but no signs of a much needed increase, bearing in mind that this time last year they were worth 100p/kg and the euro was trading at 82.29p.

As a result, cull sows were generally traded within a narrow band between 58p/kg to 62p/kg according to load size.

Demand for weaners remains lacklustre, with the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm average dropping by more than £2/head to £44.03/head, although 7kg prices have remained almost unchanged at £33.29/head.

Finishers are remaining cautious about the outlook for finished pig prices in the weeks ahead, although feed prices are starting to move in their favour.

The latest LIFFE feed wheat quotes are continuing to show an easier trend, with May quoted at £115.25/t and November at £125.25/t. Spot feed wheat prices have also eased, with the latest UK average quoted at £113.30/t, but it’s very difficult to actually buy any at this level.

Any finally, it’s good to hear that the value of UK pork exports to China have overhauled Scotch whisky. However, if the outcome of the May 7 General Election goes in a certain direction, we could all be drinking more Scotch whisky South of the Border too!

> Based in Suffolk, Peter Crichton provides a wide range of valuation, auction and livestock marketing services, as well as supplying the UK pig industry with a wide range of consultancy services covering tenancy, contract advice, pig equipment and herd valuations as well as dispute resolution. For more information visit: www.petercrichton.co.uk

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