German market helps restore some stability to EU sow prices

EU sow prices have generally been stable since the start of 2016, building on the beginnings of stability seen in the key German sow market from the end of November last year, according to AHDB Pork.

Such stability is being achieved, of course, from a generally low price base. There is also a currency factor to consider with the pound weakening against the euro during January, helping to lift the sterling value of the German sow price from below 67p/kg to 72.5p/kg.

“This has reportedly led to some strengthening of GB sow prices, although they too remain at a low level by historic standards,” commented AHDB Pork, adding that, as is usually the case, the German price has set the tone for other member states, with most recording a generally steady price either side of the holiday period.

“These price developments come despite the likelihood that sow slaughterings have been relatively high, due to the difficult financial position of many EU producers. So far, census figures from Germany, France and Poland, all show declining breeding herds during 2015, with a particularly sharp fall of 15% in Poland.

“As well as indicating possible tighter supplies of finished pigs ahead, which could eventually lead to better prices for both clean pigs and sows, this suggests that demand for sow meat is firm. Therefore, if culling rates slow down, there is potentially some scope for sow prices to rise, even without a recovery in the finished pig price.”

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