EU production remains strong in May
In May, EU pig slaughterings dipped below year earlier levels for the first time since November. However, with one fewer working days in the month, the marginal fall still meant that average daily throughputs were 4% higher than in 2014.
The total of 19.9 million head was only 65,000 lower than a year before, despite the shorter month. Slaughterings for the year to date reached 105.7 million head, 3% more than in the first five months of 2014. With carcase weights again higher, pig meat production was up 1% year on year in May, at 1.79 million tonnes. Output for January to May reached 9.6 million tonnes, 4% up on the same period last year.
Many of the major producers recorded increased throughputs in May. Most notably, Spain killed 5% more pigs than in May 2014, with other big increases recorded in Netherlands, up 9%, and Poland, up 7%. German slaughterings were up by less than 1%. These increases were offset by falls in, among others, France (down 6%), Belgium (-5%) and Denmark (-23%). Figures from the latter have shown extreme variations this year, with the May fall following a 27% increase in April. The reasons for this are not clear and the figures could still be subject to revision. All of the EU’s major producing countries showed increased output for the year to date, with substantial rises in some. This goes a long way to explaining why pig prices have remained subdued throughout the year so far.