Poor festive demand continues to weigh on pig prices
In the week ended 15 December, the EU-spec SPP fell by 0.36p week-on-week, bringing the price to 142.20p/kg. The price now stands 8.8p below 2017 levels. Sustained poor demand in the run up to Christmas has kept prices on a downward trajectory through December so far.
Estimated slaughterings were virtually the same week-on-week at 186,500 head, and around 2,400 (-1.3%) head lower than the same week in 2017. Poor demand is still having an effect on production, with carcase weights still much heavier than usual for the time of year, suggesting limited numbers have been pulled forwards. The average SPP carcase weight in the week ending 15 December was 83.82kg. Although a slight drop on the previous week, the measure is now 1.57kg higher than 2017. The average probe measurement showed no change at 11.3mm.
Similarly, the EU-spec APP fell by 1.21p in the week ending 8 December to average the week on 146.50p/kg. This is the largest weekly drop since the start of June, but follows two weeks of modest increases. This means the current quote is 8.5p below the same week of 2017. During the respective week, the SPP fell by less and as such the gap between the SPP and APP narrowed slightly, to 3.94p.
In contrast to finished pig prices, both categories of weaner prices recorded week-on-week increases. The 30kg weaner price rose by 37p to average £43.61/head. Meanwhile the 7kg weaner price was up by £1.27 to average £35.24/head. Interestingly, at £8.37, the differential between the two is currently narrower than it has been for much of the year. This perhaps suggests that the profitability of the 30kg store pig system in particular has come under increasing pressure from declining farm gate prices, while the cost of feed has been rising.
Tom Forshaw, Analyst
Tom.Forshaw@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8647