Continental pig prices continue to rise

Good weather boosting demand across Europe and export markets performing better than earlier in the year have helped EU pig prices to continue the rises that have been noted since early June, according to the latest editon of BPEX’s Pig Market Weekly.

As well as the demand factors, tightening supplies have also contributed to the increase, particularly in more recent weeks. Pig numbers are lower partly as a result of the impact of the new welfare regulations that came into force at the start of this year. In addition, the hot weather meant that pigs were slower coming to market and that weights were lower, exacerbating the shortage of supplies.

Despite some easing of demand during the holiday period, prices continued to rise in August, albeit at a slower rate, reaching 1.61p/kg by week ended 18 August. This was less than 3.4p/kg below last autumn’s peak.

Pig prices have risen across virtually all member states. The sharpest increase was in Italy, where the average has risen by more than 34p/kg since mid-May (and by 7.7p/kg in the past four weeks), while in Spain the price topped 1.71p/kg for the first time since 2001.

Prices in most other major producers also rose by between 4.3p/kg to 8.6p/kg during the four weeks to August 18. Prices remained higher than a year earlier in most member states, although Italian and Danish prices were at a similar level to last year. With the UK reference price increasing only marginally, the premium over EU prices narrowed from over 20p/kg in mid-May to under 2.5p/kg in August.

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