Lull in EU pig price growth in May

The recent strong growth in EU pig prices became more subdued following Easter.

According to the latest data from AHDB Pork, the EU average pig reference price rose only €1.33 in the two weeks ended 30 April, compared to over €8 in the two weeks prior. Despite this slowdown, at €171.09/100kg, the figure was still almost €43 higher than a year earlier.

On an individual country basis, both Denmark and the Netherlands saw very little price movement in the two weeks ended 30 April. Meanwhile Poland reported a modest increase of less than €1/100kg. Spanish prices declined €1.48 to €164.97/100kg over this period but the French and German prices fared better and climbed €2 and €1.58 respectively. For week ended 30 April, the German reference price stood at €179.22/100kg, the highest since July 2014.

Fewer slaughtering days, due to a number of recent public holidays, have likely brought demand for pigs from processors more in line with available supplies. In addition, reports suggest that low temperatures on the continent have delayed the start of the barbeque season, weakening consumer demand for pig meat.

European pig meat must compete on the global market with competitively priced product from the US, Brazil and Canada. Hence, while an eventual improvement in the weather may improve domestic demand, prices will also be heavily influenced by the level of export demand from those areas.

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The UK reference price continued to increase until the week ended 30 April, when, at €183.99/100kg, the price virtually stood on the previous week. Prior to this, the increases in euro terms were accentuated due to some strengthening of the pound. However in the most recent week, currency movements actually dampened an increase that, in sterling terms, was just under 1p/kg. 

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