EU pig market largely in balance
Following some sharp declines throughout July, EU pig prices began to stabilise moving into August.
The EU average pig reference price dropped less than half a euro in the three weeks ended 13 August, before actually gaining €1.36/100kg in the subsequent week. This took the average EU pig price to €171.12/100kg in week ended 20 August, which is almost €6/100kg below the peak just seven weeks prior, but remains over €7 above year earlier levels.
The minimal price movements over the past month suggest that supplies of live pigs have largely been in balance with demand. Nonetheless, demand for pig meat is still reported to be struggling, and the imminent end of the holiday season could emphasise this in some regions. In addition, EU pork exports to the Asian markets remain well behind year earlier levels. If demand for pork remains subdued over the coming months and supply continues to recover somewhat, the scope for further price increases may be limited.
On an individual country basis, pig prices in Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands were virtually unchanged in the four weeks ending 20 August. In Germany, the reference price had been slowly moving up until the most recent week, but still gained €1.54/100kg over the four week period. Conversely, in France prices fell €2/100kg overall. The rise in the overall EU average price in the most recent week was driven by a sharp rise in the Italian reference price (+€38/100kg).
In euro terms, the UK reference price had also been relatively stable in the four weeks ending 20 August, until the most recent week when it posted a decline of just over €3/100kg, to stand at €180.71/100kg. However, further weakening of the pound against the euro over the past month had been supporting the UK reference price in sterling terms until the most recent week, when prices finally also fell. As such, the gap between the EU and UK reference price had been opening up again, but returned below the €10 mark in the week ending 20 August.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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