May 19, 2020


Pig prices plummet across EU



Pig prices across Europe are dropping, with the average reference price falling by more than GBP6 to GBP149.71/kg in the latest week ended May 3, reported Pig World.


This compares with a recent high of more than GBP172/kg in March and it is now at its lowest level for more than a year. This excludes the UK where the pig prices remain stable.


In contrast the UK SPP has remained remarkably stable in recent weeks, standing at GBP164.3 in the week ended May 9, its highest point so far this year and GBP21 up from a year ago. The SPP has remained in the GBP162-GBP164/kg range all year.


But across much of Europe, despite some easing of lockdown measures over the past few weeks, the market for slaughter pigs has become 'increasingly challenging', according to Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) analyst Bethan Wilkins. "Reports indicate demand is difficult both on the domestic and export markets, even though pig supplies are not particularly large," she said.


Wilkins has summarised the situation in various key EU pork producing countries:


Germany, the largest EU pork producer, is the primary destination for British cull sows and supplies approximately 12% of UK pig meat consumption.


Denmark supplies approximately 14% of UK pig meat consumption, but also receives 5% of our exports.


Ireland supplies approximately 7% of UK pig meat consumption, particularly processed product and receives around 16% of our exports.


Ireland has had a stricter lockdown measures than in the UK, and schools are not expected to reopen until September.


The Netherlands supplies approximately 11% of UK pig meat consumption, and receives around 10% of UK exports.


Spain supplies approximately 4% of UK pig meat consumption, and is a very significant EU producer and global exporter.


Although not directly linked to the UK market in particular, Italy is a significant importer of EU pig meat in general.


Poland supplies approximately 5% of the pig meat consumed in the UK and is a net exporter of pig meat. The presence of African swine fever in wild boar and some domestic pig herds means it is unable to export to most countries outside the EU.