January start confirmed for EU Private Storage Aid
On Wednesday 2 December, EU Member States approved plans to open Private Storage Aid (PSA) for pig meat from Monday 4 January 2016.
This reflects the ongoing weakness in the EU pig market, with prices having fallen sharply over the last month and now at their lowest level for over a decade. The pig market is normally weak early in the New Year, so further price falls might have been expected.
It is hoped that the PSA scheme may stabilise the market, at least, and may even help it to rise as demand picks up through the spring. Much will depend on the details of the scheme, which haven’t been formally published. However, it is understood that as well as a range of pork cuts, it will also cover unprocessed fats and offals. The value of these products was particularly affected by the Russian ban, with a knock-on effect on overall carcase prices.
The rates of aid to be paid are also expected to be higher than under the previous scheme, which was open for two months in the spring. That scheme had little effect on the EU pig market, which has been attributed to a combination of timing (pig prices had started to rise before it was opened) and coverage (it only covered pork cuts and not fats/offals). A total of just 64,000 tonnes was entered into storage and it is thought that most of this was product destined for export. Earlier schemes were more successful, with larger volumes stored and a noticeable impact on the market.