EU shows signs of tightening supplies in January

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At 1.96 million tonnes, EU pig meat production in January remained relatively unchanged on the year, according to the latest data from Eurostat.

However, an additional working day this year meant that, per working day, production was actually down 5%. This supports industry sentiment that supplies have been tightening within the EU this year, a situation that has become increasingly apparent in recent weeks with pig prices rising sharply. Likewise, pig slaughterings were also relatively stable on the year in January at 21.29 million head, which translates to a 5% fall in supplies on a like for like basis.

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Many of the key producers reported a decline in output in January 2017 compared to a year earlier. Germany reportedly produced 1% less, while Polish output was down 6% and Italian production was back 7% on the year. Particularly sharp declines were also seen in Denmark (-20%) and the UK (-13%), though these figures have likely been influenced by different reporting periods being used in the two years.

Early figures for February, from selected member states, also indicates a decline in production year-on-year. However, February’s data will be affected by the extra day in February 2016 due to the leap year. Nonetheless, given demand for pork within the EU is reported to be subdued, the rising pig price suggests production has likely remained below year earlier levels in more recent months.

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Bethan Wilkins, Analyst

bethan.wilkins@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8757