The latest EU-28 pig slaughtering figures published by Eurostat placed monthly throughputs 2% above the previous year’s level.
BPEX’s Pig Market Weekly reports, however, that the increase was a result of one extra working day during the month as Easter fell later this year. In fact, throughputs on a per-working day basis were actually 3% down on March 2013, indicating some tightness in supplies in the third month of this year.
This brings slaughterings in the first quarter of 2014 to 61.6 million head, marginally higher compared with the same period in 2013, although this is again inflated by the later Easter. Overall, EU pig meat production in March reached 1.82 million tonnes, also 2% up on a year earlier as average carcase weights were virtually unchanged.
Spain recorded the largest year-on-year increase, with March pig throughputs up 14%. This was followed by Denmark, where numbers were around 8% higher on the year.
Pig supplies in many other key markets, including Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and France, increased by only about 1% on a year earlier indicating tight supplies in these countries. In Italy and Belgium, slaughterings were lower than last year despite the extra working day, with 7% and 4% declines in throughputs respectively.
Few countries have released figures for April so far, with a mixed picture on slaughtering trends.