Slight uplift in GB pig prices
In week ended 17 February, the EU-spec SPP climbed a modest 0.15p to stand at 146.07p/kg.
This was the largest week-on-week price rise since July, when prices were almost 19p higher. The latest figure remains 3.74p behind year earlier levels, as prices increased by the same amount in the equivalent week last year.
Even though prices rose somewhat, supplies continued to be ample. Estimated slaughterings stood at 185,800 head, which was a substantial 13% higher than year earlier levels and 5% higher than the previous week. Compared to the previous week, average carcase weights were 210g lower at 84.31kg, which would have partially counteracted the increased throughputs. However, compared to year earlier levels, weights were still 240g higher.
Prices on the continent have started to turn upwards in the past two weeks, meaning the gap between the UK and EU price has narrowed. This has likely alleviated the downwards pressure on UK pig prices this week. Some reports suggest demand for pig meat on the continent has picked up in recent weeks, but it remains to be seen how much EU pig prices might climb.
In week ended 10 February, the EU-spec APP averaged 149.21p/kg, 0.68p less than in the previous week. With the decline in SPP outpacing that for the APP during the week, the gap between the two price series widened to 3.29p.
Meanwhile, 7kg weaner prices fell in week ended 17 February. Averaging £36.45/head, the price was £1.68 lower than the previous week and £1.78 behind the previous year. This was also the lowest price since October 2016. There is no 30kg weaner price for the same week due to insufficient data available to provide a statistically robust price. Variation in the mix of pigs traded each week means weaner prices can be volatile, however they seem to be lacking direction in recent weeks.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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