EU weaner prices increasingly below 2017 levels
The EU average weaner price for week ended 27 May stood at €45.99/head, a substantial 22% below 2017 levels.
Prices have generally followed the usual seasonal trend so far this year, with a peak in the spring at €52.49/head (w/e 24 April). However, quotes have remained between €4 and €13 below year earlier levels, and with a later peak last year, the gap has been widening. Prices also recently dipped below the five-year average again, having been higher since the end of February.
The lower prices this year reflect the trend recorded in the finished pig market, where prices have also been well below year earlier levels. However, weaner prices seem to have been slightly more affected, with the most recent EU average reference price for finished pigs only 19% below year earlier levels. This might reflect concern from finishers over the level of finished pig prices later in 2017, meaning the price they are willing to pay for weaners is proportionally lower. Weaner supplies have also been greater, reflecting growth in the EU breeding herd.
Spanish weaners in particular have struggled in recent weeks, with the price dropping €14 over the four-week period ending 27 May. Prices in The Netherlands also recorded a large fall of €9 over this period. Meanwhile, Germany and France recorded more modest declines and the Danish price remained stable. Conversely, despite some fluctuation, prices in Poland and the UK generally moved up over the past four weeks. Nonetheless, compared to year earlier levels, weaner prices were lower across all the major producers. The Dutch price recorded the largest annual decline, falling by €23 to €32.50/head in the most recent week.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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