EU pig prices hold steady
Pig prices in the EU have been largely stable over the last few weeks, after firming slightly at the start of the year.
The latest average price, for week ended 7 February, was €128.59 per 100kg, virtually unchanged from the previous two weeks but nearly €3 higher than the first full week of the New Year. Even so, as that price was the lowest since April 2005, EU producers remain under considerable financial pressure. The slight improvement in recent weeks must be partly attributable to the Private Storage Aid, which was open for three weeks during January, but prices have remained steady since then. This suggests that supplies may be beginning to tighten, although that may be little more than the usual seasonal trend at this stage. Further signs of tightening supplies come from weaner prices, which have increased by 12% since the New Year, although rising prices are normal at this time of year.
In sterling terms, the rise in EU pig prices has been exaggerated by the weakening of the pound against the euro. The latest price is equivalent to 98p/kg, its highest level since October and over 5p up since the start of January. This means the gap between EU and UK prices has narrowed to below 15p, the lowest it has been since October 2013. This could reduce the pressure on the domestic market from imported pork, potentially helping to stabilise the GB price, particularly if the pound continues to weaken.
The general stability of the EU market was replicated across the major producing countries, with only modest movements recorded. The Dutch and Belgian prices did fall slightly in the latest week but this was offset by small rises in countries such as France and Poland.