EU pig prices on the rise again, despite Chinese export ‘congestion’

EU pig prices are rising again, following several weeks of declines, gaining more than €10/100kg (£8.86/100kg) during February, despite the impact of Coronavirus on exports to China.

The average EU price in the week ended March 1 of €192.92/100kg (about 171p/kg) meant that for the first time in eight weeks the EU reference price again exceeded the UK price, which averaged €192.22/100kg (about 170p/kg) during the week.

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Note: Due to our departure from the EU, the EU reference price is now based on the prices of the remaining 27 Member States, and no longer includes the UK reference price.

AHDB lead analyst Duncan Wyatt said it was ‘remarkable that EU prices have been able to remain strong’, given the reports of ‘congestion getting exports into China’ due to Coronavirus, allied with weak European demand.

“This is therefore possibly due to an ongoing tight supply situation. Expansion to Spanish slaughter capacity also boosts demand for the pigs available,” he said.

“Strong underlying market fundamentals remain. Covid-19 is causing logistical difficulties in the short term, but it is also thought that it might delay herd-rebuilding efforts.

“Wholesale meat prices inside China had been rising although they have stabilised more recently. The latest wholesale pork prices are in excess of €6/kg, or £5.35/kg.”

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The UK reference price gained just €0.18/100kg during the period, during which the pound slightly weakened against the euro. In contrast, there were particularly strong price rises in Germany, Europe’s largest pork producer and trader, with pigs there averaging €205/100kg (about 181p/kg).

Price increases in selected EU nations over the four week period included:

  • Germany:            +€16.58
  • Poland:                 +€16.57
  • Belgium:              +€15.50
  • Netherlands:      +€10.96
  • Spain:                    +€7.56
  • Denmark              +€3.39
  • France:                 +€1.00

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.