EU pig prices stabilise
Following a recovery in the EU average pig reference price seen in February, prices have stabilised in March.
In the week ending 29 March, the average price reported to the EU commission was just under €141 per 100kg, up €0.77 on the week. However this was €2 down on the price reported four weeks earlier, with the slight strengthening of the euro in March reducing the fall in sterling terms. Since prices were rising last March, this has increased the year-on-year difference in prices to €16 per 100kg, although this is well below the annual falls recorded from the autumn through to early 2015. The latest fall in prices is being attributed to an increase in supplies coming to market due to the reduced number of slaughter days during the Easter period, while demand for pigs has been limited by the cooler weather in Northern Europe.
As usual, German finished prices were the main driver of price trends, falling over €6 per 100kg during March, with Dutch, Belgian, Austrian and Polish prices also down by over €4 per kg. However, not all prices followed the German trend, with prices in Denmark increasing €2, while French, Spanish and Irish pigs increased €4 per 100kg. The prices in most major producers remain over €14 per 100kg behind levels seen during the same period in 2014, with prices in Spain being the furthest back at €37 per 100kg lower than the same week last year. The premium received for pigs in the UK over the EU average remained relatively stable at €38 per 100kg. The recent stabilisation of the euro is likely to have contributed to this, with this expected to continue in the next month as the market awaits the result of the UK general election.