The EU pig price increased steadily during February, averaging €135.92/100kg across the month, which was €1.65 higher than the January average.
Prices typically strengthen from February onwards, reflecting some tightening in pig supplies and improving demand following the post-Christmas lull.
AHDB analyst Bethan Wilkins said: “The UK market has not shown the same uplift, and so the premium over the EU average narrowed to under €24/100kg by week ended March 3. This is a little higher than the long-term average of €23/100kg. It’s important to remember that while reference prices are useful for monitoring trends over time, the prices are not directly comparable.
“Previous AHDB analysis highlighted the gap between the UK and EU reference price is overstated by around 6p, when considering standard indoor production.”
Prices in Spain jumped by €9/100kg in the four weeks to 3 March. This reflects strong demand from slaughterhouses, which are reportedly building up stocks in expectation of rising prices in the coming weeks and months.
Ms Wilkins added: “There have been increases in most of the major producing states, though at a slower pace. Prices rose by around €5 in Belgium and €4 in Germany and the Netherlands. Increases in other countries typically ranged between €1 and €3.”