EU pig prices recovered strongly in February
The EU average pig reference price has recorded some significant upwards movement over the past month.
For week ended 4 March, the average price reported by the EU Commission reached €148.50/100kg, up over €14 compared to four weeks previously. A similar level of upturn has not been seen since last April, and so the gap with prices this time last year has narrowed to just over €4. This is the smallest gap since prices dropped below year earlier levels in September.
The strong upward momentum can be attributed to a tight supply situation, particularly in Germany. However, this may only be a short-term situation, with the EU breeding and finishing herds increasing according to the December census results. In addition, reports suggest the rise in pig prices has not been fully reflected in demand for meat at wholesale and retail level, which may ultimately limit the extent to which farmgate prices can rise.
Of the key producing countries, Germany recorded the largest pig price rise over the past four weeks, gaining €21.08, to reach €156.75/100kg. Spain, the Netherlands, and Poland also all increased by over €10 over the period, while growth in the Danish and French price was more modest.
Conversely, the UK price has remained on a downward trend. For week ended 4 March, the UK reference price stood at €162.64/100kg, €2.87 less than four weeks previously. Some weakening of the pound exaggerated the decline in euro terms. This means the UK price premium over the EU average has been narrowing, reaching just over €14 in the most recent week, the smallest difference since September. If this is sustained, the improved price competitiveness of UK pig meat, compared to EU product, may ultimately provide some support to UK domestic prices.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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