European market in turmoil, as COVID-19 continues to disrupt meat plants

A combination of plant closures and a Chinese ban on Dutch pork imports due to COVID-19 has sent European pork markets into turmoil, according to Thames Valley Cambac.

Pigs are being backlogged due to the plant closures caused by coronavirus outbreaks among staff in some European countries, TVC said in its latest market update.

“Prices that were on the slide were given further impetus by the announcement of a Chinese ban on Dutch imports due to Covid ,and this sent markets into further turmoil. Belgium and Holland both suffered double digit losses and Germany fell 6 eurocents,” TVC said.

The cull sow market continues to be very difficult for UK producers, with the exporters struggling to find homes for the volumes presented, not helped by the closure of the Tönnies plant in Germany. “Prices were similar, but space was the issue, and many hundreds of culls were rolled,” TVC said.

Price quotes in sterling eroded further due to a weaker Euro that ended the week down 0.45p at 90.12p.

On the domestic market, demand has weakened a little as some processors continued to plan shorter kills and take days out for maintenance last week, with some of this work in response to the continuing incidence of coronavirus in meat packing plants.

“It goes without saying that our advice is that producers continue to keep on top of weights in case of any staffing issues these plants may have,” TVC said.

“Supplies continued to be tighter than of late, with the echo of the hot weather still having a negative affect on pig growth. Prices were similar, but contracts with an element of SPP improved. The fresh meat market was a touch busier, helped by orders from restaurants and pubs anticipating this weekend‘s lockdown relaxation. Prices improved in some outlets.”

Weaner demand generally matched supply this week, although any supplies outside regular contract arrangements struggled to attract much interest. There was no AHDB quote for 30kg store pigs and the weighted average for a 7kg weaner fall by 14p to £41.43.

European Prices (p/kg.dwt) w/c 05/07/20    Movement on last week

European Av.                           136.53             – 5.47

Belgium                                  113.52             – 12.34

Denmark                                 126.98             – 4.28

France                                    145.56             – 0.73

Germany                                 144.19             – 6.16

Ireland                                     149.15             + 0.15

Holland                                    120.85             – 14.11

Spain                                       155.43             – 0.78

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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.