The average EU weaner price has shown an earlier than usual increase for the time of year and is running above 2012 levels, according to the latest BPEX Pig Market Weekly.
Until recently, EU weaner prices had broadly followed the normal seasonal pattern. Prices rose from the start of the year to peak in March at just over £44.97/head, which was fractionally higher than the 2012 peak.
Then, unexpected weakness of the finished pig market led to prices falling back more sharply than last year, so that by late May, the average price was £2.16 below its level a year earlier at £38.91.
However, some recovery in finished pig prices, coupled with the recent drop in feed costs, have since led to a modest upturn in prices. This has come earlier in the year than would normally be the case, and in the latest week, ending on June 30, the average price moved back abov the levels seen for the same week last year to settle at £39.78/head.
Weaner prices in most major member states have followed a similar trend to the EU average over recent months.
The UK was one exception, with prices increasing steadily since February. Prices in Denmark and Poland were more stable than elsewhere, with demand from Polish finishers remaining firm.
With recent declines in the Polish breeding herd, weaner supplies were tight and demand for Danish imports was still strong.